Prof. Trujillo’s Book on Trade, Sustainable Development to be Published by Cambridge University Press

March 22, 2017

Trujillo-2016_B86_12a-1560Elizabeth Trujillo, Professor of Law and Co-convener, Global and Comparative Law Program at Texas A&M University School of Law

Texas A&M University School of Law Professor Elizabeth Trujillo’s book, “Reframing the Trade and Environment Linkage for Sustainable Development in a Fragmented World,” revisits the trade and environment linkage, one that historically has been in tension, but which, due to increased energy demand and concerns for climate change, is shifting and finding common ground. Next year the Cambridge University Press will publish the book.

In describing the genesis of the book, Trujillo explained that there are shifting dynamics of governance in both trade and environmental regimes responding to increased globalization, and in the various policies emerging regionally, nationally and at the local levels.

Trujillo said the book does more than highlight the ways in which fragmentation has been a source of normative conflict between trade and environmental norms.

“It takes a comparative and interdisciplinary approach to examining the role that international institutions, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), have played in aligning the different interests of trade and environmental communities globally and at the domestic level,” she said.

Trujillo book presentation, Humboldt, 2015, AusburgTrujillo presenting the first version of her book project at the Alexander von Humboldt Networking Meeting at the University of Augsburg, Germany, in 2015.

This is particularly true for areas like renewable energy. There have been several domestic initiatives to increase economic incentives for transitioning to cleaner energy production, including in the United States.  

“Many of these policies are local but can still lead to violation of trade rules depending on how they are implemented,” she said. “The dispute settlement body of the WTO has a say on how local governments establish incentives for clean energy while still complying with international trade commitments.”

Trujillo referred to two reasons for writing the book.

“It is a timely topic with respect to current climate change and environmental concerns and increased skepticism in the ability of international trade regimes to balance the goals of trade liberalization with domestic social policy nets,” she said.

There is a great deal of frustration right now regarding international trade and globalization, she added.  

“A look at the current trade and environment relationship brings a fresh perspective on the topic, showing that international trade agreements can provide some opportunities for increased dialogue between the two camps, especially with respect to regulations that make sense and shared environmental concerns that impact particular regions,” she said. “Like international trade, environmental issues cannot be solved only locally because they have transnational impact, so cross-border collaboration is necessary.”

HumboldtTrujillo was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship in 2015 in order to begin writing the book at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (MPIL) in Heidelberg, Germany, where she has done much of the research for the book at their extensive international library.

While at the MPIL, Trujillo also collaborated on other ongoing MPIL research projects, including the role of international economic law on human rights and sustainable development issues in Latin America.

“Many amazing guests and scholars pass through the MPIL, including judges, arbitrators and people in high positions at various international institutions like the Inter-American Court, as well as European institutions like the European Court of Human Rights,” she said. “This allowed me to collaborate with fellow researchers via weekly workshops on both international and comparative law matters, but also consult with MPIL thought leaders who are experts in their respective fields.”

With respect to her research, she said she will not only complete her book and other related articles, but also begin other projects which will be interdisciplinary in focus.

Currently, Trujillo is writing an article, “Regulatory Cooperation in International Trade & its Transformative Effects on Executive Power,” which will be published in the Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies later this year.

Her previous publications, which have appeared in law reviews, books, and peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of International Economic Law, examine the relationship between international trade and investment with domestic regulatory structures.

trujillo-TAMUILWpresentingplenaryTrujillo introduces Prof. David Gantz, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, for the plenary session "Renegotiating NAFTA Without Tears: Risks and Rewards of Modifying the North American Free Trade Relationships" at Texas A&M University's inaugural International Law Weekend -- South: The Global Future of International Trade, Human Rights, and Development.

Trujillo, who joined the law school in January, is a leading scholar in international economic law, specializing in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), contracts, international and comparative law, international trade, investment, and development.

“I am pleased to be a part of Texas A&M at such an exciting time of growth for the law school,” she said. “Not only am I co-convener for the new Global and Comparative Law Program, working closely with the Associate Dean for Global Programs, but I’m also enjoying teaching the international trade and international business and natural resources systems curricula as well as first year Contracts.”

Before coming to Texas A&M Law, Trujillo was a Full Professor at Suffolk University Law School in Boston where she also served as the co-director of the international law concentration. The Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys named her “Latina Trailblazer in the Law.”

She previously taught at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, where she founded a J.D., LLB, L.E.D. tri-lateral degree program with universities in Mexico and Canada. She is also a former Visiting Professor at Florida State University College of Law and Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School. Prior to teaching, Trujillo practiced in the Houston office of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene, and MacRae, L.L.P. (later known as Dewey and LeBoeuf, L.L.P.).

- Article by Jennifer Nassar, Communications Specialist, Texas A&M University School of Law