This is My Father’s World: An Overview of International Trade Law

By Sam Webb
King Solomon “excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom.” (2 Chron. 9:22) King Solomon’s wealth  and wisdom was so impressive that “all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom.” (2 Chron. 9:23) And while King Solomon developed his wealth through various means, certainly one of the chief means for his wealth came by his fleet of merchant ships, which carried gold, silver, and ivory from foreign lands. (1 Kings 10:22) King Solomon exercised wisdom and generated wealth through international trade.
We live in a globalized world. Houston is America’s next great global city. Cross-border transactions and international trade is as much a reality of our age as Solomon’s age. While politically controversial, economic theory is relatively settled on the benefits of international trade between nations.
The importance of the global economy to the future economy means that business students of all stripes must be familiar with the legal and regulatory concepts that frame international business. I plan to discuss several aspects of international trade law over the coming weeks. My goal is educate students and interested others in the legal framework of international trade in order to 1) provide a general understanding of the legal and regulatory issues in international trade and 2) to encourage students to pursue international business opportunities after graduation either through direct employment or further education.
The first part will provide an essential overview of international trade law, addressing the development of bilateral treaties, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the World Trade Organization. Then, being in the United States, I will walk through several aspects of the U.S. international trade regime, including customs and import law, export controls and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. I will then address certain topics related to the European Union trade regime (and possibly other countries) and finish the series of posts on preferential trade agreements between nations.
Part 1 – Essentials of  World Trade Law
Part 2 – United States Customs and Import Law
Part 3 – United States Export Law
Part 4 – European Union International Trade Law
Part 5 – Trade Agreements
This is the roadmap as we journey into the world of international trade law and, Lord willing, broaden our vision for our involvement in the global economy.
Sam Webb is an attorney and consultant at a corporate tax advisory firm in Washington, D.C., where he lives with his wife and daughter. He serves Grace Baptist Church of Arlington as Deacon of Services and pursues theological studies through Reformed Theological Seminary. He can be reached at