On 19-20 May 2015, the Financial University of the Russian Federation held its first international conference on the topic of "WTO Law in the Legal System of the Russian Federation: Problems of Application and Teaching." To my knowledge, this was the first international legal conference held to address the Russian Federation's 2012 accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the current role of the Russian Federation in the WTO. The Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation (Finuniversitet) is a leading publicly-funded institution of higher professional education (whose roots go back to the early 20th century). The conference was supported by a grant from the U.S. Russian Foundation for Economic Advancement and the Rule of Law (USRF).
The conference consisted of over two dozen presentations regarding international trade law and policy and the trade law of the Russian government.
Among the main lecturers on the first day of the conference were: Jan Bohanes, senior counsel of the Advisory Centre on WTO Law (Geneva), who lectured on constructed normal value in antidumping; Professor Steve Charnovitz of George Washington University Law School (Washington, D.C.) who lectured on the WTO-plus provisions in the Russian WTO accession package; Professor Anatoly Kapustin, Head of the Legal Comparative Research Centre who lectured on Russia and WTO Law; Professor Vasilka Sancin of the University of Ljubljana who lectured on models for an appellate mechanism in investor-state dispute settlement; Anait Smbatyan, Senior Expert at the WTO Expertise Center (Moscow) who lectured on WTO implementation; Eric M. Solovy, partner at Sidley Austin LLP (Washington, DC) who lectured on the obligations of and caselaw under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the WTO Agreement Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM). Excellent additional presentations were made by Mark G. Pomar, President of USRF and by Professor and Deputy Rector Dmitry Sorokin of Finuniversitet.
On the second day of the conference, two parallel workshops were held featuring scientific presentations by leading academics and practitioners from Moscow and other Russian cities. Several presentations addressed the challenges and opportunities of teaching international economic law to Russian students. In addition, Professor Alexey N. Ruzhin of the Russian Foreign Trade Academy gave a lecture on the enforcement of international trade and customs law in the Russian economy.
Organizing a major global conference on WTO law is a difficult task and Financial University Associate Professor Igor Shulyatyev is to be commended for planning and carrying out a landmark conference on key policy and technical challenges facing the Russian government in its WTO membership. In the future, the Financial University should consider building on its success and holding a second annual conference in 2016.