Frontier hosts roundtable in Brussels on the use of economics in trade law

Frontier (Europe) today hosted a breakfast roundtable discussion in Brussels on the use of economics in resolving matters of trade law.  The event was chaired by Gus O’Donnell, Chairman of Frontier Economics, and featured a presentation by Bernard Hoekman, Director of Research in International Economics at the European University Institute in Florence.  Dr. Hoekman addressed the use of economics in crafting trade rules applicable to national regulatory regimes that potentially restrict trade, the use of economics in trade disputes, and mechanisms other than rules and enforcement as means of promoting reforms to trade and regulatory regimes. These issues are particularly relevant in the context of on-going negotiations for an EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The subsequent discussion reflected some of the current barriers to more effective use of economic evidence in trade disputes, including concerns that practitioners of trade law may be less comfortable with the use of economics than their counterparts in competition law.  Some participants suggested that economists can rely on excessively sophisticated methods at the cost of sound analysis, undermining the ability of lawyers to make the facts of the case understood by courts.  Amar Breckenridge and Dave Foster, of Frontier Economics, emphasised that robust economic analysis does not necessarily require the use of complex modelling techniques.  Indeed, economists can make a constructive contribution to legal teams by consistently applying economic frameworks to establish the facts of a case and to tease out the legal implications.  Participants also called for greater transparency from the courts in outlining the reasoning behind decisions and for courts to show greater openness to economic evidence.

Frontier (Europe) regularly works with legal teams to advise companies across a wide variety of sectors.

For more information, please contact Paul Cullum at or call +44 (0)20 7031 7000.

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Related Disciplines:
Dispute support
Public Policy