International trade law is a body of law governing and foreign investment, and it sets the framework for how countries must interact when conducting business. The rules are designed to protect the rights of individuals and companies in both countries, promote fair competition, prevent fraud, enable cooperation between trading parties to reach mutually beneficial agreements, encourage open markets accessible by all participants, minimize tariffs and duties on international transactions while preventing discriminatory treatment among trading nations and firms. As a result, international trade law is designed to create a fair playing field for economically feasible and lawful international commerce, furthering the liberal internationalist doctrine of free trade.

International Trade And Customs Law: Everything You Should Know

1. What Is International Trade Law?

The definition of international trade law is the body of law that regulates transactions involving international trade, which includes the exchange of goods, services, and money. International trade law is a term for this legal field and its standard practice. The most prominent feature of the domain is that it comprises distinct areas dealing with different aspects of international trade.

The main body of international trade law includes rules for conducting business and settling disputes across multiple national borders. It is enforced by a global network of regulators, including government agencies, business industry groups, and courts.

2. Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction is the term used to describe the authority of a particular nation to legislate certain types of laws. The concept is fundamental in international trade law since nations trade with each other across borders, which means they must have rules to govern that activity.

International trade law is generally created and enforced by nation-states, but some international organizations and institutions play a role in codifying and enforcing treaties. However, because jurisdiction is often defined differently depending on the area of law being addressed, the concept of jurisdiction can be quite complex and challenging to determine.

3. Law And Law Enforcement


Law has two distinct meanings in the context of international trade law. The first meaning is the body of rules enforced by governments. Laws are created by lawmakers and legislators, whereas law enforcement refers to the enforcement of those laws by governmental agencies.

The distinction between the two meanings reflects differences in the jurisdiction described above. International trade law comprises civil and criminal penalties, enforced either by government officials or private citizens acting under a broad range of legal theories. There is also a great deal of overlap between the laws enforced by government officials and those implemented by private citizens or businesses.

4. International Trade Law Vs. Import/Export Regulations

Most countries have a set of import/export regulations to control how goods are imported into or exported out of their borders. The type of regulation typically varies depending on the imported or exported product. The United States and many other countries have rules to control food and agricultural products imports. In contrast, there are no regulations to prevent exporting or importing cars or auto parts. The laws regulating international trade differ from import/export regulations because they apply uniformly to all goods and services exchanged between countries.

5. Import Duties On Imported Goods

Import duties, also known as tariffs, are taxes levied on goods imported into a particular country. Import duties are generally assessed as a percentage of the total value of imported goods, and tariff rates differ from country to country and from product to product.

Governments typically use import duties to raise revenue and promote specific domestic industries by protecting them from foreign competition. The United States, for example, levies import duties on certain classes of goods being imported into the country to protect domestic producers of those goods. Taxpayers may be relieved of duty charges upon proving that the goods were purchased in the U.S. or that duty is otherwise due but was not paid at the initial purchase.

6. Customs Offices


A customs office is a government agency responsible for collecting customs duties on goods imported into a country from another country. They can also be responsible for enforcing import/export rules and regulations, much like the two countries’ governments in which the customs office operates. Some customs offices are responsible for collecting duties on exported goods from the country, but most focus exclusively on imports into the country.

7. Tariff Classification

Tariff classification is a system used to categorize products according to their nature and ensure that all duties and taxes are collected appropriately. Products can be classified by their origin, characteristics, or use. The classification system is essential to foreign trade since it allows foreign goods to be adequately assessed for duties and taxes. The system is necessary when traded goods are imported into a country that does not have a preexisting tax or duty classification system.

China has its export tax on computer products, but after import, it must be subjected to the import tariff of India as well. At the same time, India has its export tax on similar computer products, but after import, it must be subjected to the import tariff of the USA. This situation seems very confusing and not at all favorable for business. The professionals like Abady Law Firm can help in the process.

8. Rules Of Origin

Rules of origin are regulatory standards used to determine whether a particular product is being exported from its country of manufacture or if it was assembled there from parts that were manufactured in another country. The rules of origin are usually used to assess duties and taxes owed by the manufacturer of imported goods to the country’s government in which it was assembled. Assembled goods are generally subject to a lower rate of duty than goods that are entirely made in the country from raw materials. Under some circumstances, certain products cannot comply with the rules of origin, which reduces or eliminates their duty obligations.

9. Special Trade And Economic Zones

Particular trade and economic zones are areas of a country with lower government regulations than other parts. The most common special trade zones or economic zones are export processing Zones or EPZs, free ports, and free warehouse zones, which benefit foreign trade by reducing the transaction costs associated with trading internationally. In some cases, companies in particular areas may be exempt from specific tariffs or taxes ordinarily due on goods imported into their home country. Shipping goods from one special zone to another is often quicker and less costly than shipping them from other parts of the country.

Bottom Line


World trade is the commercial exchange of goods and services across international borders, while global business activity is concerned with the corresponding economic exchange process. There are several approaches that economists have used to analyze international trade.

One crucial approach considers both supply and demand to determine how an increase or decrease in supply will affect market price. This approach to studying international trade has been used extensively by governments and organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to determine whether or not countries should increase or decrease tariffs on imported goods or reduce barriers created by other countries to promote world trade.