Artificial Intelligence and Global Trade Governance: A Pluralist Agenda – Law School: Events Artificial Intelligence and Global Trade Governance: A Pluralist Agenda – Law School: Events

Artificial Intelligence and Global Trade Governance: A Pluralist Agenda

Artificial Intelligence and Global Trade Governance: A Pluralist Agenda

This article is the first of its kind to map out imminent challenges facing the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the emergence of artificial intelligence.

It does so by examining critically AI’s normative implications for four issue areas—robot lawyers, automated driving systems, computer-generated works, and automated decision-making processes. By unpacking the diverse governance approaches taken in addressing these issues, this Article highlights the underlying economic, societal, cultural, and political interests in different jurisdictions and identifies the growing normative relevance of global legal pluralism.

In light of the changing fabric of international law, this Article seeks to reconceptualize AI and global trade governance by offering three recommendations and two caveats.

First, more institutional flexibility within the WTO is essential to allow for rigorous and dynamic cross-sectoral dialogue and cooperation. Less focus should be laid on the specificity and predictability of rules, but on their adaptability and optimal design.

Second, while we acknowledge that the human rights-based approach to AI governance offers a promising baseline for many, it is crucial to point out that the global trading system should be more deferential to local values and cultural contexts in addressing AI-related issues. One must exercise greater caution and refrain from pushing strong harmonization initiatives.

The third recommendation highlights incrementalism, minilateralism, and experimentalism.

We propose that the global trading system should accommodate and encourage emerging governance initiatives of AI and trade governance. Two crucial caveats, however, should be noted. For one, we must bear in mind the “pacing problem” faced by law and society in keeping up with rapid technological development. For another, the changing power dynamic and interest groups landscape in the age of AI cannot be neglected. In contrast to the conventional power dynamics in international law, States with stronger technology and more quality data will likely dominate, and one may envisage a new North-South divide reshaping the international economic order. (61 Harvard International Law Journal 407 (2020).)


Dr. Han-Wei Liu, Monash University

Dr. Han-Wei Liu joined Monash University as a Lecturer in January 2018. Prior to his appointment at Monash, he was Assistant Professor of Law (tenure track) at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan. Dr. Liu works in the areas of international economic law, law and technology, and international law and global governance. Before entering academia, he practiced with Baker McKenzie and Russin & Vecchi for several years. Han-Wei earned his PhD, summa cum laude, from the Graduate Institute, Geneva (IHEID) on Kathryn Davis Scholarship and his master degrees from Columbia Law School and Oxford University on Taiwan Government Scholarship and British Chevening Scholarship, respectively. He received his LL.M. and LL.B. degrees from National Chengchi University. His work appears or is forthcoming in top-rated law journals, such as Harvard International Law Journal, University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, Columbia Journal of Asian Law, Cornell International Law Journal, Journal of International Economic Law, International Journal of Law and Information Technology, Melbourne Journal of International Law, Journal of World Trade, Sydney Law Review and UNSW Law Journal. Dr. Liu presented his work in conferences held by, among others, Cambridge, Columbia, Duke, Groningen, Luxembourg, Melbourne, Singapore Management University, UNSW, and Warwick. In 2013-2015, he held visiting posts at Harvard and Columbia Law Schools. Dr. Liu received several research grants from Taiwan’s Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Economic Affairs and had advised high-tech firms and think-tanks on regulations of digital communication, cross-border data flow, and technology transfer/export control issues.


Associate Professor Ching-Fu Lin, National Tsing Hua University

Ching-Fu Lin is Associate Professor of Law at National Tsing Hua University (NTHU). Professor Lin received his LL.M. and S.J.D. from Harvard Law School with the honor of John Gallup Laylin Memorial Prize and Yong K. Kim Memorial Prize. He also holds a double degree in law (LL.B.) and chemical engineering (B.S.) from National Taiwan University. Professor Lin has served as visiting researcher/fellow at Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, and Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics. He received the NTHU Junior Research Award in 2017 as well as 2018-2023 Young Scholar Fellowship from Taiwan’s Ministry of Science and Technology in 2018. In 2019, Professor Lin was appointed to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Academy of Food Law and Policy, United States. His legal scholarship has appeared in many journal and edited volumes, including Harvard International Law Journal, Virginia Journal of International Law, University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, Melbourne Journal of International Law, Columbia Science and Technology Law Review, Columbia Journal of Asian Law, and Journal of World Trade.



Associate Professor, Jie (Jeanne) Huang, Sydney Law School


Webinar via Zoom, Friday 9 October, 1pm AEST.

Once registered, you will receive Zoom details closer to the date of the webinar.


CPD Points: 1

This event is hosted by the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law at Sydney Law School. 


(Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash)


Oct 09 2020


1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Free, however registration is essential.

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