Congratulations to our colleague Dr Luca Rubini, who has been awarded £9,950 from the British Academy Small Research Grant Scheme.

Luca is a lecturer at Birmingham Law School and is Deputy Director of our Institute of European Law. His project is entitled ‘The regulation of legitimate subsidies in the World Trade Organization’.  

Public subsidies produce various effects. They may distort market forces, creating unfair advantages. At the same time, however, they may address market failures or pursue other laudable economic or social objectives, like environmental protection, innovation or development. This positivity has not found a clear and permanent recognition in the world trading system rules. As a result, WTO subsidy rules are now unbalanced and consider subsidies only as negative, ignoring their possible positive effects. This issue is increasingly discussed in scholarly and policy circles, gaining momentum in the current global challenges of climate change, development and economic crisis, and related negotiations. It has not however been developed systematically. The author proposes to do so, moving from theory to practice. The research aims to analyze the case for a WTO discipline of certain ‘legitimate’ subsidies and its challenges, to design a possible new discipline, including a model of new rules, and, through this, to provide a contribution to the current debate, negotiations and to law reform.