International trade law represents the need to balance two competing interests: (1) the protection of local industries from harm by foreign competitors, and (2) the encouragement of trade across national borders. Since the 1990s, there has been a shift toward freer international trade. However, restrictive trade devices that impede or distort trade still create problems in the international trade of goods, services, intellectual property, and investment.

The most common devices used to restrict trade are tariff barriers, such as import duties and export duties, and nontariff trade barriers (NTBs), such as import quotas; import licensing procedures; safety, environmental, and other minimum manufacturing standards; import testing requirements; complex customs procedures (including valuation); government procurement policies; and government subsidies.

The initial effort by countries to limit disruptive trade ...

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