World Trade Organization
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.
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- Hoekman, B.M. and P.C. Mavroidis, The World Trade Organization: Law, Economics, and Politics, London, Routledge, 2007.
- Macrory, P.F.J., A.E. Appleton and M.G. Plummer (eds.), The World Trade Organization: Legal, Economic and Political Analysis, New York, NY, Springer, 1995.
- Van den Bossche, P., The Law and Policy of the World Trade Organization: Text, Cases and Materials, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013.
- Wouters, J. and B. De Meester, The World Trade Organization: A Legal and Institutional Analysis, Antwerpen, Intersentia, 2007.
- Bethlehem, D., (et al.) (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of International Trade Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2009.
- Bhala, R., International Trade Law : Theory and Practice : With Accompanying International Trade Law Handbook and Teacher's Manual, New York, NY, LexisNexis, 2001.
- Hoekman, B.M. and P.C. Mavroidis, The World Trade Organization : Law, Economics, and Politics, London, Routledge, 2007.
- Horlick, G.N., World Trade Organization and International Trade Law : Antidumping, Subsidies and Trade Agreements, Hackensack, NJ, World Scientific, 2014.
- Lester, S. and B. Mercurio, World Trade Law : Text, Materials and Commentary, Oxford, Hart, 2008.
- Macrory, P.F.J., A.E. Appleton and M.G. Plummer (eds.), The World Trade Organization : Legal, Economic and Political Analysis, New York, NY, Springer, 2005, 3 vols.
- Matsushita, M., T.J. Schoenbaum and P.C. Mavroidis, The World Trade Organization : Law, Practice, and Policy, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2006.
- Van Den Bossche, P., The Law and Policy of the World Trade Organization : Text, Cases and Materials, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008.
- VanGrasstek, C., The History and Future of the World Trade Organization, Geneva, World Trade Organization, 2013.
- World Trade Organization, WTO Analytical Index : Guide to WTO Law and Practice, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2007, 2 vols.
- Wouters, J., and B. De Meester, The World Trade Organization : A Legal and Institutional Analysis, Antwerpen, Intersentia, 2007.
- Davey, W.J., "Institutional Framework", in Macrory, P.F.J. (eds.), The World Trade Organization : Legal, Economic and Political Analysis, New York, NY, Springer, 2005, pp. 53-87.
- Dillon, T.J., "The World Trade Organization : A New Legal Order for World Trade?", Michigan Journal of International Law, 16 (1995), pp. 349-402.
- Moore, P.M., "The Decisions Bridging the GATT 1947 and the WTO Agreement", American Journal of International Law, 19 (1996), pp. 317-328.
- Petersmann, E.-U., "The Transformation of the World Trading System through the 1994 Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization", European Journal of International Law 6 (1995), pp. 161-221.
- Spak, G.J. and G. Kapterian (eds.), “The World Trade Organization”, Giorgetti, C. (ed.), The Rules, Practice, and Jurisprudence of International Courts and Tribunals, Leiden, Nijhoff, 2012.
- Wolfe, R., "Global Trade as a Single Undertaking : The Role of Ministers in the WTO", International Journal, 51 (1995-96), pp. 690-709.
- Bhala, R. (ed.), Modern GATT Law: A Treatise on the Law and Political Economy of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and other World Trade Organisation Agreements, London, Sweet & Maxwell, 2013.
- World Trade Organization, The Results of the Uruguay Round, Geneva : WTO, 1994.
- World Trade Organization, Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations : Legal Instruments Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations Done at Marrakesh on 15 April 1994 : Marrakesh Protocol to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 = Négociations commerciales multilatérales du Cycle d'Uruguay = Ronda Uruguay de negociaciones comerciales multilaterales, Geneva : GATT Secretariat, 1994-1996, 31 vols in 33 covers.
Relevant Legal Texts:
- General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (1994)
- General Agreement on Trade in Services (1994)
- Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (1994)
- Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (1994)
- Agreement on Trade - Related Investment Measures (1994)
- Agreement on Trade - Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (1994)
Periodicals, serial publications
- Hamel, H.H.R. (ed.), World Trade Organization : Selective Bibliography, (updateded ed. 2001), The Hague : Peace Palace Library, 2001
- Also published as: "Selected Bibliography on the World Trade Organization", (extended and updated ed. July 1998), in : International Trade Law on the 50th Anniversary of the Multilateral Trade System, Milan : Giuffrè, 1999, pp. 859-1060
- Online version: World Trade Organization Bibliography
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Cook, G., A Digest of WTO Jurisprudence on Public International Law Concepts and Principles, Cambridge, United Kingdom, Cambridge University Press, 2015.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
In its first twenty years, the WTO dispute settlement system generated over 350 decisions totalling more than 60,000 pages. These decisions contain many statements by WTO adjudicators regarding the law of treaties, state responsibility, international dispute settlement, and other topics of general public international law. This book is a collection of nearly one thousand statements by WTO adjudicators relating to admissibility and jurisdiction; attribution of conduct to a State; breach of an obligation; conflicts between treaties; countermeasures; due process; evidence before international tribunals; good faith; judicial economy; municipal law; non-retroactivity; reasonableness; sources of international law; sovereignty; treaty interpretation; and words and phrases commonly used in treaties and other international legal instruments. This comprehensive digest presents summaries and extracts organized systematically under issue-specific sub-headings, making this jurisprudence easily accessible to students and practitioners working in any field of international law.
Desierto, D.A., Public Policy in International Economic Law: the ICESCR in Trade, Finance and Investment, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2015.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
States rejected inequality when they chose to ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), but to date the ICESCR has not yet figured prominently in the policy calculus behind States’ international economic decisions. This book responds to the modern challenge of operationalizing the ICESCR in State decision-making in international trade, finance, and investment systems. Differentiating between public policy mechanisms and institutional mandates within international trade, finance, and investment, this book shows legal and policy gateways for States to feasibly translate their fundamental duties to respect, protect, and fulfill economic, social, and cultural rights into their trade, finance, and investment commitments, agreements, and contracts. (...) This book explicates the argument that States’ ICESCR commitments operate as the normative foundation of their trade, finance, and investment decisions.
Charnovitz, S. The Path of World Trade Law in the 21st Century, Singapore, World Scientific Publishing, 2015.Charnovitz, 2015
The advent of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995 transformed international economic law for states, enterprises, and nongovernmental organizations. This book analyzes how the WTO is changing the path of international trade law and examines the implications of these trends for the world economy and the global environment. Containing 18 essays published from 1999 to 2011, the book illuminates several of the most complex issues in contemporary trade policy. Among the topics covered are: Is there a normative theory of the WTO's purpose? Can constitutional theory provide guidance to keep the WTO's levers in balance? Should the WTO use trade sanctions for enforcement? What can the WTO do to enhance sustainable development and job creation?
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Qureshi, A.H., Interpreting WTO Agreements: Problems and Perspectives, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2015.Qureshi, A.H., 2015
This book was first published in 2006. The case law of the World Trade Organization is now extensive, running into over one hundred cases and thousands of pages. The interpretative process involved in this jurisprudence constitutes a form of legislative activity, and is therefore of great significance not only to the parties to disputes, but to the membership of the WTO. Qureshi sets out here to identify some of the underlying problems of interpreting WTO agreements, within the context of different issues, problems, objectives and disciplines, and to comprehensively examine the underlying conditions for the interpretation of WTO agreements. He focuses on: the apparatus of interpretation in the WTO; the manner of interpreting institutional norms, national measures, and exceptions; the manner of facilitating the development objective; the manner of reconciling conflicting norms through interpretation; and finally the manner of interpreting the trade remedies agreements. Various perspectives on interpretation are proffered, particularly that of justice and development.
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Struck, C., Product Regulations and Standards in WTO Law, Alphen aan den Rijn, Kluwer Law International, 2014.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
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.
Gantz, D.A., Liberalizing International Trade after Doha: Multilateral, Plurilateral, Regional and Unilateral Initiatives, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2013.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
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.
VanGrasstek, C., The History and Future of the World Trade Organization, Geneva, World Trade Organization, 2013.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
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.
Watson, J.K.R, The WTO and the Environment: Development of Competence beyond Trade, London, Routledge, 2013.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
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.
Wilkinson, R. and J. Scott (eds.), Trade, Poverty, Development: Getting beyond the WTO's Doha Deadlock, London, Routledge, 2013.View this title in our link resolver Plinklet
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.
Farrell, J.E., The Interface of International Trade Law and Taxation: Defining the Role of the WTO, Amsterdam, IBFD, 2013.View this title in our link resolver PlinkletThis 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.
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”.Read more
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.Read more
- From GATT to the WTO and Beyond Research Guide, Georgetown Law Library
- GATT/WTO, Duke University School of Law Library
- GATT/WTO : A Research Guide, University of Wisconsin-Madison Law Library
- GATT/WTO System, American Society of International Law
- International Trade Law Research, Boston University School of Law, Pappas Law Library
- World Trade-ILS Reference Guides, Harvard Law School
- WTO & GATT Research, New York University School of Law Library
- WTOformation Centre