Giovanni Dall’Agnola

Giovanni Dall’Agnola

PhD Researcher in International Law
Spoken languages
English, Italian, German
Areas of expertise
  • International economic law
  • International trade law
  • International investment law
  • European Union Law
  • Sustainable Development Law
  • Food Law
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • Europe


Provisional PhD Thesis Title: Advancing Sustainable Food Systems Beyond EU Borders: Legal Challenges and Opportunities of EU Trade Instruments

PhD Completion Date: 2027

PhD Supervisor:  Joost Pauwelyn

Sustainable food systems (SFSs) are crucial for achieving food security, protecting ecosystems, and providing healthy, culturally acceptable, and accessible food to everyone. SFSs are gradually gaining more prominence in the international discourse, especially in international bodies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. However, in recent years, it is the European Union (EU) that has particularly increased its attention to sustainability both within and beyond its borders, including with respect to SFSs. This trend is illustrated by initiatives such as the Farm to Fork Strategy, the EU Deforestation-Free Products Regulation, and the expected Proposal for a legislative framework for sustainable food systems.

This thesis focuses on the external dimension of the EU food-related action, in particular the EU external trade policy. It analyses the sustainability-focused EU trade measures to assess their impact on the pursuit of SFSs in third countries. To that end, the thesis first explores the concept of SFSs from various disciplinary viewpoints and examines the EU’s internal understanding of SFSs. Only then does the focus shift to the external dimension, examining the reasons why the EU should promote SFSs in non-EU countries and testing the adequacy of selected trade measures. Through the analysis of the EU action, the ultimate goal is to develop a cross-cutting approach to promote SFSs through trade instruments and, more generally, a methodological toolkit to foster non-trade interests in trade measures.


Giovanni Dall’Agnola is a Ph.D. Researcher in International Law at the Geneva Graduate Institute, where he is conducting research on the promotion of sustainable food systems in non-EU countries through EU trade instruments. His interests lie at the intersection of international economic law, EU law, and sustainable development law.

Before moving to Geneva, Giovanni was a Fulbright Scholar at Georgetown University, where he earned an LL.M. in International Business and Economic Law with a Certificate in WTO and International Trade Studies. At Georgetown, he was also a Fellow of the Institute of International Economic Law, a Research Assistant at the Center on Inclusive Trade and Development, and among the founders of the Georgetown Law Society for Trade, Investment, and Development. 

In Italy, Giovanni received a Combined Bachelor and Master of Science in Law summa cum laude from Bocconi University, where he majored in international and EU law. At Bocconi, he was an Editor of Bocconi Legal Papers, and he took part in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, first as a team member and later as a coach. During his studies, Giovanni was a visiting student at King’s College London. Giovanni practised international arbitration and litigation with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.


Research Interests

  • International Economic Law
  • Public International Law
  • European Union Law
  • Sustainable Development Law
  • Food Law 

Publications and Works


  • ‘Promoting Sustainable Food Systems Through Preferential Trade Agreements: Limits of the EU’s Sustainability Chapters and Prospects for Reform’, (2024) 54(3) Georgetown Journal of International Law (forthcoming)
  • ‘Promoting Food Security through the Multilateral Trading System: Assessing the WTO’s Efforts, Identifying its Gaps, and Exploring the Way Forward’, (2024) 10(2) Groningen Journal of International Law 157-194; and Next-Generation Approaches to Trade and Development: Balancing Economic, Social, and Environmental Sustainability (Katrin Kuhlmann ed.; Georgetown Center on Inclusive Trade and Development, 2023) 277-312
  • ‘Italy’s Spalma-incentivi Decree and the ECT’s FET Obligation: An Assessment of the Legitimacy of the Photovoltaic Incentives Cut’, (2021) 35(3) Diritto del Commercio Internazionale 507-562
  • ‘Italy’s Reduction of Existing Renewable Energy Incentives: The Ruling of the CJEU on the Compatibility of the Spalma-incentivi Decree with EU Law’, (2021) 35(3) Diritto del Commercio Internazionale 783-806

Other Work Experience

  • Research Assistant, Georgetown Center on Inclusive Trade and Development (2022-2023)
  • Trainee Lawyer, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP (2021-2022)
  • Intern, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP (2020)

Fellowships, Grant and Awards

  • Ph.D. merit-based full scholarship, Geneva Graduate Institute (2023-2027)
  • Fellow, Georgetown Institute of International Economic Law (2022-2023)
  • LL.M. Fulbright grant, U.S.-Italy Fulbright Commission (2022-2023)
  • LL.M. merit-based scholarship, Georgetown University Law Center (2022-2023)
  • LL.M. merit-based scholarship, ASLA (Italian Association of Associated Law Firms) and Milan Bar Association (2022-2023)