Course Title: Global Trade and Sustainable Development: Discourse, Politics and Practice

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Global Trade and Sustainable Development: Discourse, Politics and Practice

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies

Distance / Correspondence or Face-to-Face

Sem 2 2007


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 1 2012,
Sem 2 2013


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies

Face-to-Face or Internet

Sem 2 2015

Course Coordinator: Dr. Reina Ichii

Course Coordinator Phone: +(61 3) 9925 0416

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 37.05.043

Course Coordinator Availability: Email for an appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course is designed to critically explore the power networks within a corporatised global agenda determining the nature, scope and shape of trade regimes. Emphasis is placed on the social, environmental and economic impacts of specific trade practices at the global level on developing countries. The institutions of trade regulation are also examined with a particular focus on the World Trade Organisation and the regulatory structure in general. The role of national governments and their neoliberal policy agendas are critically examined, in particular issues of privatization and labour policy. Special attention is also given to trade agreements and their social, environmental and economic implications. The course also addresses the opportunities for alternative global trade regimes based on principles of sustainability and social justice.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Upon successful completion of the course you will be able to:

  • Examine the various theories of trade and how they apply to current trade practice on a global scale
  • Critically analyse the social and environmental impacts of different trade practices of transnational corporations in developing countries
  • Evaluate critically the role of national governments in setting trade agendas and their implications for democracy
  • Evaluate critically the role of global institutions like the World Trade Organization in setting the regulatory agenda for global trade
  • Analyse the links between global trade and Third World debt, especially the formation of export platforms
  • Identify and explain the specific links between certain global trade practices and the continuation of poverty in developing countries
  • Identify, analyse and compare various alternative sustainable approaches to trade and its regulation

Overview of Learning Activities

A short interactive lecture or presentation will be used to provide a context for discussion focusing on exploring and critiquing ideas and practices of global trade and sustainable development. Group discussion tackling issues and/or examining case studies/examples relevant to each weekly topic will foster your analytical, problem solving and teamwork skills. These discussions will be guided by a series of key questions that are designed to challenge the orthodoxy of relevant discourses and help you think critically about the validity of some of the assumptions and politics that underpin them. Active and constructive participation in group discussions is expected based on weekly reading and consideration of discussion questions, as well as careful planning of assessment tasks.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems. Materials will include recommended reading lists complemented by notes on key themes covered in the course. Through myRMIT/students will be able to access further sources such as additional readings, links to various key organisations and institutes and a selection of documentaries covering topical issues relevant to the course.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program learning outcomes. Assessment tasks may include, but are not limited to, case studies, essays and class presentations.
Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

  • If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.
  • A student charter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers.
  • Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online: