Mona Paulsen Profile picture
Assistant Professor in International Economic Law @LSELaw. Member @TaPP_network. Editorial board @trade_review; @monapaulsen BlueSky; she/her. 🇨🇦
Oct 18, 2023 21 tweets 4 min read
🧵 on my new working paper, drawn from years of archival research that disrupts contentions that Cold War-era trade institutions fail to offer stability or predictability in the global economy due to advanced economies’ economic security strategies.… Such historical analyses show a delicate sensitivity to state insecurities with trade multilateralism & reveal how such interferences were core to this system, not acts of violation or evidence of its impotence.
But I want to stick to the present.
@WTO need not face its death.
Dec 21, 2022 15 tweets 6 min read
Follow along as I pretend to give my children holiday crafting to read the report (a much more detailed assessment to follow in the New Year).

First off: US obstinate about this strategy in effort to assert self-judging nature. Must explain circumstances. Notwithstanding broader debates about the scope of war in public international law (with an h/t to Clapham's War), the panel observes "other emergency in IR" is closely connected to a notion of war referring to "armed conflict."
Sep 30, 2022 12 tweets 4 min read
This year, I am working to improve how I teach trade, I want to share what I assigned in Week 1. Note this is a graduate seminar, so a bit different than a 20+ week course seen often in the US. I begin with an icebreaker - we discuss students' starting thoughts after watching NPR's short video series on how a t-shirt is made. I like this video because it brings up 2 themes for me: putting a face to trade and the role of technology.
Aug 8, 2022 7 tweets 2 min read
In rereading Viner today, I was struck by the limits of legal language to lock in priorities. In 1943, Viner published a report on a sticky topic: how could governments negotiate an international code applicable to trade relations between free-market and state-trading economies? This research is paired with some academic publications, and a Foreign Affairs piece on the post-WW2 ITO Suggested Charter. Viner critiqued the Charter's language, particularly how discriminatory practices were permitted if solely made by "commercial considerations."
Sep 17, 2021 19 tweets 7 min read
@worldbankdata just discontinued its Doing Business reports (DBR). It's a big deal and worthy of an explanation as to what the Bank's project (DBP) was, how it worked, and what went wrong. Thread!… The DBP began with a report in 2004. The Bank investigated States' legal and regulatory environments to determine how conducive that State was for "doing business." The data was meant to help explain the business environment, but the indicators also offered a way to rank States.
Jul 1, 2021 5 tweets 3 min read
Tomorrow, join me @EconomistEvents. I argue we need to stop thinking about what fits into a specific exception. Security is not exogenous to the WTO – trade technocrats need more information and expertise to address mixed- trade and security policies on an on-going basis. I proceed to lay out my ideas for how governments can map the practices of internal agencies responsible for trade and security policies. And the key scholar for thinking through the US quagmire is @Claussen_K.…
Jun 17, 2021 6 tweets 3 min read
Aus-UK FTA on investment - while the treaty maintains investment protections, private direct enforcement via investor-State arbitration is out.
Press:… An interesting add on secondary sanctions that can impact firms abroad.
Mar 30, 2021 25 tweets 13 min read
When we think of #ISDS, there seems to be no shortage of heated disputes regarding the legitimacy of this dispute settlement mechanism as a cog in the investment treaty regime. In the US, US politicians like Elizabeth Warren have spoken out fervently against ISDS. The Walloons launched an assault against CETA. And as @vonderburchard reported in 2016, this was largely due to ISDS.…
Mar 24, 2021 20 tweets 8 min read
What is China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)? To understand China's developmental strategy, its important to consider both China's unique economic structure and its infrastructure network on its own terms, not just as a threat to the United States or legal internationalism. I taught China's developmental strategy last week. My students began by reading Mark Wu's China Inc. Wu's work is so clear in showing that this is not just about Chinese state capitalism, bur a complex network involving private firms & Party-state control.…
Mar 4, 2021 13 tweets 6 min read
My class today looked at foreign investment and the goal of development. The initial focus was twofold: first, the HOW, WHY, and WHAT countries sign up for when they conclude investment treaties; and second, the impacts of investment treaties on governance & development. The groundwork was laid out by @laugepoulsen @JBonnitcha @WaibelM09 great book, The Political Economy of the Investment Treaty Regime. But I paired the introduction and review of the politics of developing countries with a case study on South Africa.
Mar 3, 2021 9 tweets 3 min read
Finally able to give serious read @AntheaERoberts @taylor__stjohn recent sum-up of UNCITRAL WGIII talks (TL/DR: take up the pen). The desire to stop high level talks and move to details is a great way to move forward; analogy is to writing - at some point you need to just start. What is very interesting is the marriage of 2 points by these scholars: 1) EU&MS/Switzerland proposal for text via informal sessions before taking text to broader group; 2) focusing next time on "WHO texts as well as HOW and WHEN that texting occurs."
Oct 8, 2020 9 tweets 3 min read
This is an important point from @geoffreygertz and one which @harlangcohen and I have long discussed about the internal debates that led to the creation of USTR. And I hope to support Geoff's ridiculously sharp thread by reflecting on agencies' impact on the trade/security divide International trading rules structure national security as an exception to rules of non-discrimination and trade liberalisation & this emerged as some saw trade = peace. Security exceptions were important, albeit dangerous for the multilateral trading system = rare formal use.
Jan 29, 2020 8 tweets 2 min read
A thread on "Trade Multilateralism and U.S. National Security: The Making of the GATT Security Exceptions", especially for those curious about my big picture thoughts on this project. Michigan J Int'l Law has it up here:… My intensive archival work into the construction of the security exceptions illuminates, but also complicates, current debates about the interpretation of article XXI GATT, which is relevant for several disputes at the WTO.
Dec 9, 2019 10 tweets 2 min read
I’ve seen discussion as to how the judicialization of the WTO is far beyond what the US originally contemplated. What does that mean? I fear, as others do, that the absence of the WTO Appellate Body is not a return to the GATT legal system, it is return to unilateral retaliation. Without focusing too much on the prescriptions (@nicolas_lamp offers cogent ideas @WorldTradeLaw), the driving force behind the emergence of the multilateral trade system was international cooperation and the shared view that no member should take the law in its own hands.
Oct 2, 2019 27 tweets 7 min read
The US has posted its first submission for the US-Certain Measures on Steel and Aluminum Products (s.232 cases). I'll be posting on @WorldTradeLaw about this, as I suspect others will too, but for now, a thread on my initial reactions. @WorldTradeLaw As expected, the U.S. argues that Article XXI(b) of the GATT 1994 permits any WTO Member to take action to protect its essential security in a manner it considers necessary. It begins with an interpretation pursuant to Article 31 Vienna Convention.
Aug 5, 2019 5 tweets 2 min read
I found @howserob comments insightful. Thinking aloud, and as someone who devotes time to archival work (which is by *definition* slow), there is great merit in combining slow and fast (though I doubt Rob would call it this) writing. We are in the industry of ideas (@dandrezner). We devote years to law and policy, and now - more than ever - many of us see opportunity, and responsibility, to help others understand the world. Whether that's to see the big picture, new narrative, new voice, or nuance in rules.
Dec 2, 2018 10 tweets 3 min read
In light of consideration of @WTO addressing investment, I thought I'd highlight some prior efforts from the Working Group on the Relationship between Trade and Investment, re the Doha Development Agenda, see 2002 Report WT/WGTI/6. (thread w/ excerpts) The working group sought to clarify scope and definitions (investment/investor), transparency, non-discrimination, pre-establishment commitments from a GATS +-list approach, exceptions + balance of payments safeguards, and dispute settlement.
Oct 29, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
Mavroidis Trade in Goods (2nd ed) lays out early XXI #GATT claims (pp367-375). 1949 Czechoslovakia complained that the US failed to carry out its GATT obligation through its administration of export licences. Excerpts below. Find it here:… 1/ Mr. Evans (US) argued "Article I would not require uniformity of formalities, as applied to different countries, in respect of restrictions imposed for security reasons." 2/