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NUS first Asia-Pacific host for economic law meet

17 July 2012

Prof Lo (right) giving his insights at the SIEL conference, with Assoc Prof Gabrielle Marceau, legal counsellor for the World Trade Organization, moderating the session

NUS has become the first university in the Asia-Pacific region to host the biennial conference of the Society of International Economic Law (SIEL) which took place from 12 to 14 July 2012. SIEL is the leading global association of international economic law academics and practitioners.

Organised by the Centre for International Law (CIL) and hosted by the Faculty of Law, the conference held at the Bukit Timah Campus attracted 272 delegates representing more than 150 institutions from over 50 countries.

SIEL's Executive Vice President, Associate Professor Colin Picker, explained why the London-based organisation selected NUS: "CIL has quickly established itself as one of the leading global centres for trade and investment law, while NUS Law is one of the best law schools in the world and brings to the table a level of professionalism and depth almost unmatched in the world."

Dean of NUS Law Professor Simon Chesterman invited participants at the gathering to shape future research and policy innovations in international economic law. "Singapore has always been a hub for the trade of goods; this conference shows that it is now also a hub for trading in ideas," he said.

Head of CIL's trade and investment law programme, Associate Professor Michael Ewing-Chow, noted that with the shift in global trade and investments towards Asia over the last decade, it was timely to hold the major forum in Singapore.

The three-day conference included the prestigious Robert Hudec Lecture delivered by Professor Chang-fa Lo, Justice of the Constitutional Court (Judicial Yuan) of Taiwan, on the topic "External Regime Coherence: WTO/BITs and Public Health Tension as an Illustration". The former Dean of the National Taiwan University's College of Law explained why global trade rules need to be consistent so that governments are not impeded from introducing health protection measures such as regulating the tobacco industry.

On Friday evening, the delegates enjoyed a networking reception hosted by CIL at ION Sky which offers a panoramic view from the highest point of Orchard Road.

For more information on the SIEL conference, please visit

By Dr Navin Rajagobal, Centre for International Law