Indigenous Peoples and International Trade Law

International trade law and the rights of Indigenous peoples are often regarded as distinct areas of law with little clear overlap. In recent years, however, scholars and practitioners have drawn attention to important connections between these two fields. Certainly, there is broad agreement that international trade and investment law can have serious negative consequences for the rights and interests of Indigenous peoples. In many cases, agreements have resulted in serious violations of Indigenous peoples’ land, self-governance and cultural rights. Yet, in some States there is growing appreciation that Indigenous peoples’ rights should be protected. Often this takes the form of exception clauses in trade and investment treaties that are designed to protect and promote Indigenous peoples’ rights and interests. In this seminar, leading experts will discuss the growing use of exception clauses and other ways that international trade law can be reformed to protect and promote Indigenous peoples’ rights.


  • Brenda Gunn, University of Manitoba and Co-chair of RIPIG, Moderator
  • Harry Hobbs, University of Technology, Sydney and Co-chair of RIPIG, Moderator
  • James Hopkins, University of Arizona
  • Sergio Puig, University of Arizona
  • Risa Schwartz, Sole Practitioner