World Trade Organization

Introduction

World Trade Organization - Research Guide International Law

The birth of the World Trade Organization (WTO) marked the end of an era in which international trade was governed by the 1947 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT 1947). With the refusal of the United States Congress to ratify the Charter of the International Trade Organization (Havana Charter) GATT 1947 was the only means left for the regulation of international trade relations. It was originally conceived as a provisional multilateral agreement for tariff reduction without any reference to a specific institutional umbrella. In spite of its many shortcomings, GATT 1947 gradually evolved into a de facto international organization which helped establish a strong and prosperous multilateral trading system through many rounds of trade negotiations. Although GATT 1947 is now reduced to its original status as a multilateral agreement, its history of decisions, procedures and customary practices still form an important element for the interpretation and understanding of the WTO and its provisions. The World Trade Organization is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.

This Research Guide is intended as a starting point for research on the World Trade Organization. It provides the basic legal materials available in the Peace Palace Library, both in print and electronic format. Handbooks, leading articles, bibliographies, periodicals, serial publications and documents of interest are presented in the Selective Bibliography section. Links to the PPL Catalogue are inserted. The Library’s classification index code 140a. GATT/WTO and subject heading (keyword) World Trade Organization are instrumental for searching through the Catalogue. Special attention is given to our subscriptions on databases, e-journals, e-books and other electronic resources. Finally, this Research Guide features links to relevant websites and other online resources of particular interest.

Bibliography

Reference works

Books

Leading articles

Documents

 

Relevant Legal Texts:

Periodicals, serial publications

 

Bibliographies

New titles


1. The Geneva consensus
The Geneva consensus : making trade work for all / Pascal Lamy. - Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2013. - X, 202 pages. ; 23 cm Includes index. - Harnessing globalization amid the crisis facing multilateralism --The changing face of trade --Helping the poorest up the prosperity ladder --Trade : friend not foe of the environment --Trading towards global food security --Trade can contribute towards better health --Trade and labour : separated at birth, but still connected --Trade and energy : the case for a greater WTO role --Trade and currencies : trading community seeks greater currency stability --Trade and competition : fairer competition makes for fairer trade --Trade and human rights : a case of misplaced suspicion --Corruption : a cancer that trade transparency can help to treat --Last but not least : the Doha round --Epilogue.. - 2013
Keywords: World Trade Organization, International trade, Developing countries,

2. Insight into the Law and Politics of the Trade in Renewable Energy Equipment
Insight into the Law and Politics of the Trade in Renewable Energy Equipment : Local Content Requirement considered : the Case of Developing Countries / Volodymyr Matenchuk In: L'Observateur des Nations Unies = ISSN 1281-3389: vol. 34, issue 1, page 111-122. - 2013
Keywords: Developing countries, Renewable energy resources, National treatment, Special and differential treatment, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, World Trade Organization,

3. The Treatment of Confidential Information in WTO Dispute Settlement Proceedings
The Treatment of Confidential Information in WTO Dispute Settlement Proceedings / Armin Steinbach In: The American Review of International Arbitration = ISSN 1050-4109: vol. 24, issue 4, page 591-610. - 2013
Keywords: World Trade Organization, International trade, Judicial settlement of international disputes, Confidentiality,

4. Les mécanismes de règlement des litiges des accords externes de l'Union européenne et de l'ALENA
Les mécanismes de règlement des litiges des accords externes de l'Union européenne et de l'ALENA / Joël Lebullenger In: Revue générale de droit international public = ISSN 0373-6156: vol. 118, issue 2, page 241-271. - 2014
Keywords: European Union, North American Free Trade Agreement, Free trade agreements, Bilateral agreements, Judicial settlement of international disputes, World Trade Organization,

5. Adaption to WTO Standards
Adaption to WTO Standards / Xiaoxiao Li. - Lexington, Kentucky : University Press of Kentucky. - Page 151-170 In: Modern Chinese Legal Reform : New Perspectives / edited by Xiaobing Li, Qiang Fang, ISBN 9780813141206: (2013), Page 151-170. - 2013
Keywords: China, World Trade Organization, Commercial law, International trade, International law and domestic law,

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  • Farrell, J.E., The Interface of International Trade Law and Taxation: Defining the Role of the WTO, Amsterdam, IBFD, 2013.

    Farrell, J.E., The Interface of International Trade Law and Taxation : Defining the Role of the WTO, Amsterdam, IBFD, 2013.
    This book explores the ill-defined and oft-underestimated relationship between the World Trade Organization (WTO) and taxation. By adopting a two-pronged approach, the relationship is examined in terms of the extent to which the WTO legal framework exerts influence upon domestic tax law and international tax policy, and whether it is appropriate for the WTO to play a regulatory role in the field of taxation.
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  • Struck, C., Product Regulations and Standards in WTO Law, Alphen aan den Rijn, Kluwer Law International, 2014.

    Struck, C., Product Regulations and Standards in WTO Law, Alphen aan den Rijn, Kluwer Law International, 2014.

    The interrelation of products, the human body, and the environment presents a fundamental challenge to the international trade regulatory system. In an ever more integrated global market, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and other increasingly prevalent methods of processing food and pharmaceuticals give rise not only to trade issues, but also to health, safety, and security concerns. Product-related cross-border issues such as the spread of disease, the use of riskrelevant substances or components, and safety-related construction issues are increasingly on the agenda for governments and international organizations. A promising response to this challenge – presented in this book – is offered by a harmonization of the multiplicity of rules, standards, guidelines, and recommendations that characterizes the current system of international trade regulation. Based primarily on the author’s thorough research on the rules on harmonization within the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS Agreement) and on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement), this book sets forth a workable scheme for the harmonization of public and private regulations and standards – a scheme that, the author shows, is sure to be helpful in reducing non-tariff barriers and achieving further integration of international markets.

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  • Gantz, D.A., Liberalizing International Trade after Doha: Multilateral, Plurilateral, Regional and Unilateral Initiatives, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2013.

    Gantz, D.A., Liberalizing International Trade after Doha, Multilateral, Plurilateral, Regional and Unilateral Initiatives, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2013.

    After ten years the Doha Development Round is effectively dead. A broadly comprehensive round of trade negotiations reminiscent of the Doha agenda or the Uruguay Round will not likely be attempted again in the foreseeable future. Although some have suggested that Doha’s demise threatens the continued existence of the GATT/WTO system, even with some risks of increasing protectionism, the United States, the European Union, Japan, Brazil, China, and India, among others, have far too much to lose to make abandoning the WTO a rational option. If there is reason for cautious optimism post-Doha it is because there are alternatives to a comprehensive package of new or amended multilateral agreements. In addition to likely consensus on a few noncontroversial multilateral elements of Doha, the alternatives include existing and future “plurilateral” trade agreements, new or revised regional trade agreements covering both goods and services, and liberalized national trade laws and regulations in the WTO member nations. This book discusses the alternatives, which although less than ideal, may provide an impetus for continuing trade liberalization both among willing members and in some instances worldwide.

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  • Rolland, S.E., Development at the World Trade Organization, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012.

    Rolland, S.E., Development at the World Trade Organization, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012.
    • Analyses the question of the WTO and development from an institutionalist perspective, offering new insights on why the Doha Round has stalled
    • Provides a thorough analysis of the special and differential treatment of developing states and of these states’ capability to participate in WTO decision-making
    • Presents a range of proposals for a better balance between trade liberalization and the development needs of WTO member states

    Seeking to open paths for reconsidering the trade and development relationship at the WTO, this book takes into account both the heritage of the trade regime and its present dynamics. It argues that the institutional processes for creating and implementing trade rules at the WTO and the actual regulatory outcomes are inseparable. A consideration of the development dimension at the WTO must examine both jointly.

    It shows that the shortcomings of the Doha Development Round are in part due to the failure to assess trade rules as part of the legal processes and institutions that produced them. This book devotes significant analysis to the systemic impact of the WTO as an institution on developing and least developed members. From a pragmatic perspective, it provides a coherent and systematic analysis of the legal meaning, the implementation, and the adjudication of special and differential treatment rules for developing members. It then evaluates the different regulatory approaches to trade and development from a more theoretical perspective. The book finishes by presenting a range of proposals for a better balance between trade liberalization and the development needs of many WTO members.

     

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  • VanGrasstek, C., The History and Future of the World Trade Organization, Geneva, World Trade Organization, 2013.

    Vangrasstek, C., The History and Future of the World Trade Organization, Geneva, World Trade Organization, 2013.

    This volume offers a comprehensive account of the establishment of the World Trade Organization. It focuses on those who shaped its creation as well as those who have influenced its evolution. The book examines trade negotiations, the WTO dispute settlement role, and the presence of coalitions and groupings within the WTO. It also examines the process of joining the organization, as well as many other topics including what lies ahead for the organization.

     

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  • Watson, J.K.R, The WTO and the Environment: Development of Competence beyond Trade, London, Routledge, 2013.

    Watson, J.K.R, The WTO and the Environment: Development of Competence beyond Trade, London, Routledge, 2013.

    This book is a review of the development of the WTO dispute resolution procedure and the power and influence it has gained over the practises of the member countries as well as in other international treaties. The book addresses the development of environmental competency in the WTO and examines the arguments of those who oppose WTO rule making with impacts on the environment. The WTO’s interactions with multilateral environmental agreements are considered and recent WTO cases including the 2011 US/Mexico tuna dispute and the US sea turtles decision are analysed in detail. In examining how an international organisation which was established with a specific purpose in mind has come to interact in fields beyond its original remit, James Watson demonstrates how the dispute resolution system at the WTO has come to work in a judicialised manner, operating with an informal system of precedent. This has led to the contracting parties placing more reliance on the decisions of the dispute panels and appeal body when considering policy options, with WTO rulings increasingly influencing the behaviour of national legislatures in regard to the environment. The book goes on to make concrete recommendations, based on existing practise in the WTO dispute resolution procedure, which could enhance decision making in environmental cases heard by the WTO. The book argues that this could be achieved with straightforward amendments to the WTO, based on existing practices endorsed under the WTO for other policy considerations. The WTO and the Environment will be of particular interest to academics and students of International and Environmental law.

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  • Wilkinson, R. and J. Scott (eds.), Trade, Poverty, Development: Getting beyond the WTO's Doha Deadlock, London, Routledge, 2013.

    Wilkinson, R. and J. Scott (eds.), Trade, Poverty, Development: Getting beyond the WTO's Doha Deadlock, London, Routledge, 2013.

    This work seeks to look beyond the seemingly endless deadlock in the WTO’s Doha round of trade negotiations that began in November 2001 and were first scheduled to conclude by January 1, 2005. As well as offering an incisive analysis of the ills of the round, with particular attention directed at the poorest and least developed countries, the book expands on how the round could be moved forward elaborating on the Statement on the Doha Development Agenda that was negotiated in Johannesburg. The work as a whole provides the reader with a critical analysis of the implications of the negotiations for development and poverty reduction as well as proposals for moving beyond the current impasse. The volume brings together contributions from serving and former ambassadors to the WTO, key practitioners, and civil society representatives along with those of leading scholars. Each chapter explores an area of critical importance to the round; and together they stand as an important contribution to debates not only about the Doha round but also about the role of trade in the amelioration of poverty in the poorest countries.

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  • Foltea, M., International Organizations in WTO Dispute Settlement: How Much Institutional Sensitivity?, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012.

    Foltea, M., International Organizations in WTO Dispute Settlement: How Much Institutional Sensitivity?, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012.

    This book analyses the role of international organizations in WTO dispute settlement as arising from a number of WTO disputes. In particular, the roles of the IMF, WIPO, the WCO and WHO are addressed. The use of the Vienna Convention rules of interpretation framework allows an evaluation of the weight attributed to this material by the WTO adjudicator. This allows specific conclusions to be drawn regarding the level of institutional sensitivity of the WTO adjudicator to each of the organizations. As well as being a valuable source of research, the analysis will appeal to international law scholars, civil servants and law practitioners interested in the WTO and dispute settlement.

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  • Hodu, Y.N., Theories and Practices of Compliance with WTO Law, Alphen aan den Rijn, Kluwer Law International, 2012.

    Hodu, Y.N., Theories and Practices of Compliance with WTO Law, Alphen aan den Rijn, Kluwer Law International, 2012.
    This book applies social science theories to the question as to why nation-states comply or do not comply with international trade law obligations. The author examines various theories of compliance in the context of world trade law, and discusses ways in which a much more robust compliance with global trade rules may be ensured. In the course of the analysis numerous germane issues arise, including the following: ; the stalemate in the WTO judicial and political process; third party rights and WTO Law compliance; the role of arbitrators in determining reasonable period of time; contract theory; reputation costs; good faith obligations required by pacta sunt servanda; imposing remedies collectively; multilateral enforcement of DSB findings; and early determination of injuries once nullification and impairment have been established. The author’s approach leads not only to a new understanding of the function of the WTO as a legal system, but also to well-grounded recommendations concerning remedies that address the issue of continuous breach of legal duties in the WTO. This is a timely and accessible analysis of an increasingly important aspect of the interface of international trade law and economics. It will undoubtedly lead to a deeper debate and accelerate the inevitability of effective practical action.
     
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  • Becroft, R., The Standard of Review in WTO Dispute Settlement: Critique and Development, Cheltenham, Elgar, 2012.

    Becroft, R., The Standard of Review in WTO Dispute Settlement: Critique and Development, Cheltenham, Elgar, 2012.

    This detailed book critiques how the World Trade Organization scrutinizes domestic measures to determine compliance with the WTO Agreements. This scrutiny, known as the standard of review, is particularly relevant when WTO panels are examining measures involving controversial domestic policy issues. The author argues that the current WTO standard of review is inadequate and a flexible standard based on the responsibilities that WTO members have retained for themselves under the WTO Agreements is preferable. This new standard of review would better reflect the autonomy contemplated for members under the WTO rules and reduce scope for the contention that the WTO overreaching its mandate. This work provides a foundation for mediating relations between states and the WTO, and similar international organizations. It will be of great interest to scholars and practitioners in the fields of law and international relations with an interest in international economic law, the WTO or international organizations in general.

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  • Taubman, A.S., H. Wager and J. Watal (eds.), A Handbook on the WTO TRIPS Agreement, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012.

    Taubman, A.S., H. Wager and J. Watal (eds.), A Handbook on the WTO TRIPS Agreement, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012.

    This handbook describes the historical and legal background to the TRIPS Agreement, its role in the WTO and its institutional framework and reviews the following areas: general provisions and basic principles; copyright and related rights; trademarks; geographical indications; patents; industrial designs, layout-designs, undisclosed information and anti-competitive practices; enforcement of intellectual property rights; dispute settlement in the context of the TRIPS Agreement; TRIPS and public health; and current TRIPS issues. It contains a guide to TRIPS notifications by WTO members and describes how to access and make use of the official documentation relating to the TRIPS Agreement and related issues. Furthermore, it includes the legal texts of the TRIPS Agreement and the relevant provisions of the WIPO conventions referred to in it, as well as subsequent relevant WTO instruments.

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  • Hoekman, B.M., The WTO and Trade in Services, Cheltenham, Elgar, 2012.

    Hoekman, B.M., The WTO and Trade in Services, Cheltenham, Elgar, 2012.

    The past few decades have witnessed a growth in the importance of services in the economy, yet until the 1980s, scholarly literature on the expanding role of trade in services in the world economy remained scarce. This two-volume collection, edited by a leading analyst in the field, brings together seminal works on the WTO and trade in services published in the last twenty-five years. Areas covered in this set include the determinants and patterns of trade in services, services in regional integration agreements and the GATS.

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  • McMahon, J.A. and M.G. Desta (eds.), Research Handbook on the WTO Agriculture Agreement, Cheltenham, Elgar, 2012.

    McMahon, J.A. and M.G. Desta (eds.), Research Handbook on the WTO Agriculture Agreement, Cheltenham, Elgar, 2012.
    Agriculture has been the unruly horse of the GATT/WTO system for a long time and efforts to halter it are still ongoing. This Research Handbook focuses on aspects of agricultural production and trade policy that are recognized for their importance but are often kept out of the limelight, such as the implication of national and international agricultural production and trade policies on national food security, global climate change, and biotechnology. It provides a summary of the state of the WTO agriculture negotiations as well as the relevant jurisprudence, but also, and uniquely, it focuses on the new and emerging issues of agricultural trade law and policy that are rarely addressed in the existing literature.
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Database

Blogs

  • 400th Trade Dispute for World Trade Organization (WTO)

    On 1 January 2010 the World Trade Organization (WTO) will celebrate its 15th birthday. Shortly before the anniversary the 7th Session of the WTO Ministerial Conference will take place for the second time in Geneva, Switzerland, from 30 November to 2 December 2009. Trade ministers will be discussing the general theme “The WTO, the Multilateral Trading System and the Current Global Economic Environment”.

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  • WTO launches new database on regional trade agreements

    On 14 january 2009 the database was launched and can be accessed in English, French and Spanish. The database can be searched by country, region, legal provision, date of notification or entry into force of the RTA. Summary tables of all RTAs currently in force, containing various types of information, can be easily exported by users of the database.

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