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. The World Trade Organization is a central player in international trade regulation. The rights and duties that form WTO law are not created in a vacuum, however, and there exists a complex network of domestic, regional and international influences on the development of WTO law that go beyond the disciplines found in the covered agreements or the interpretations given by panels and the Appellate Body. As such, understanding the development of WTO law in a wider institutional context is critical to comprehending WTO law in a new age of legal globalization.

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 systematic classification → Public international law 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.

New titles


1. Les rapport des groupes spéciaux et de l'organe d'appel de l'OMC (2016)
Les rapport des groupes spéciaux et de l'organe d'appel de l'OMC (2016) / Saïda El Boudouhi, Sabrina Robert-Cuendet In: Annuaire français de droit international = ISSN 0066-3085: vol. 62 (2016), page 651-679. - 2016
Keywords: World Trade Organization, WTO Appellate Body,

2. Interpreting the Doctrine of Legitimate Expectations in WTO Jurisprudence in Its Application to Compulsory Licenses
Interpreting the Doctrine of Legitimate Expectations in WTO Jurisprudence in Its Application to Compulsory Licenses / Thaddeus Manu In: Trade Law and Development = ISSN 0975-3346: vol. 8, issue 1, page 63-116. - 2016
Keywords: World Trade Organization, TRIPS Agreement (Marrakesh, 15 April 1994), Developing countries, Health, Sanitary and phytosanitary measures, Pharmaceuticals, Licensing, Intellectual property,

3. Towards a Bottom-up SPS Cooperation: An Analysis of Regulatory Convergence in Food Safety Regimes
Towards a Bottom-up SPS Cooperation: An Analysis of Regulatory Convergence in Food Safety Regimes / Mengyi Wang, Ching-Fu Lin In: Trade Law and Development = ISSN 0975-3346: vol. 8, issue 1, page 117-136. - 2016
Keywords: China, United States of America, European Union, World Trade Organization, Sanitary and phytosanitary measures, Food safety, International trade,

4. Substantial Development and the Commodities Challenge: the Eventual Greening of the World Trade Organization
Substantial Development and the Commodities Challenge: the Eventual Greening of the World Trade Organization / Gregory Messenger In: Trade Law and Development = ISSN 0975-3346: vol. 9, issue 2, page 54-89. - 2017
Keywords: World Trade Organization, Commodities, Fisheries, Sustainable development, Subsidies and countervailing measures, International trade,

5. Renewable Energy and Article III:8(A) of the GATT: Reassessing the Environment-Trade Conflict in Light of the 'Next Generation' Cases of Trade
Renewable Energy and Article III:8(A) of the GATT: Reassessing the Environment-Trade Conflict in Light of the 'Next Generation' Cases of Trade / Aditya Sarmah In: Trade Law and Development = ISSN 0975-3346: vol. 9, issue 2, page 197-220. - 2017
Keywords: World Trade Organization, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, Electricity, Renewable energy resources, International trade, Cases,

Bibliography

Reference works

Books

Leading articles

Documents

 

Relevant Legal Texts:

Periodicals, serial publications

Bibliographies

New titles


1. Les rapport des groupes spéciaux et de l'organe d'appel de l'OMC (2016)
Les rapport des groupes spéciaux et de l'organe d'appel de l'OMC (2016) / Saïda El Boudouhi, Sabrina Robert-Cuendet In: Annuaire français de droit international = ISSN 0066-3085: vol. 62 (2016), page 651-679. - 2016
Keywords: World Trade Organization, WTO Appellate Body,

2. Interpreting the Doctrine of Legitimate Expectations in WTO Jurisprudence in Its Application to Compulsory Licenses
Interpreting the Doctrine of Legitimate Expectations in WTO Jurisprudence in Its Application to Compulsory Licenses / Thaddeus Manu In: Trade Law and Development = ISSN 0975-3346: vol. 8, issue 1, page 63-116. - 2016
Keywords: World Trade Organization, TRIPS Agreement (Marrakesh, 15 April 1994), Developing countries, Health, Sanitary and phytosanitary measures, Pharmaceuticals, Licensing, Intellectual property,

3. Towards a Bottom-up SPS Cooperation: An Analysis of Regulatory Convergence in Food Safety Regimes
Towards a Bottom-up SPS Cooperation: An Analysis of Regulatory Convergence in Food Safety Regimes / Mengyi Wang, Ching-Fu Lin In: Trade Law and Development = ISSN 0975-3346: vol. 8, issue 1, page 117-136. - 2016
Keywords: China, United States of America, European Union, World Trade Organization, Sanitary and phytosanitary measures, Food safety, International trade,

4. Substantial Development and the Commodities Challenge: the Eventual Greening of the World Trade Organization
Substantial Development and the Commodities Challenge: the Eventual Greening of the World Trade Organization / Gregory Messenger In: Trade Law and Development = ISSN 0975-3346: vol. 9, issue 2, page 54-89. - 2017
Keywords: World Trade Organization, Commodities, Fisheries, Sustainable development, Subsidies and countervailing measures, International trade,

5. Renewable Energy and Article III:8(A) of the GATT: Reassessing the Environment-Trade Conflict in Light of the 'Next Generation' Cases of Trade
Renewable Energy and Article III:8(A) of the GATT: Reassessing the Environment-Trade Conflict in Light of the 'Next Generation' Cases of Trade / Aditya Sarmah In: Trade Law and Development = ISSN 0975-3346: vol. 9, issue 2, page 197-220. - 2017
Keywords: World Trade Organization, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, Electricity, Renewable energy resources, International trade, Cases,

Librarian's choice

  • Bahri, A., Public Private Partnership for WTO Dispute Settlement: Enabling Developing Countries, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018.

    Bahri, A., Public Private Partnership for WTO Dispute Settlement: Enabling Developing Countries, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018.
    Public Private Partnership for WTO Dispute Settlement is an interdisciplinary work examining the growing interaction between business entities and public officials. Crucially, it identifies how this relationship can enable developing countries to effectively utilize the provisions of the World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Understanding (WTO DSU).
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  • Cantore, C.M., The Prudential Carve-Out for Financial Services Rationale and Practice in the GATS and Preferential Trade Agreements, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2018. [e-book]

    Cantore, C.M., The Prudential Carve-Out for Financial Services Rationale and Practice in the GATS and Preferential Trade Agreements, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2018.

    The World Trade Organization's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) sets out a framework and rules for the liberalization of international trade in services. Paragraph 2(a) of the GATS Annex on Financial Services is generally known as the Prudential Carve-Out (PCO). Notwithstanding GATS obligations, it allows WTO Members to pursue prudential regulatory objectives. This book studies the GATS PCO in light of its negotiating history and economic rationale as well as PCOs in all preferential trade agreements notified to the WTO Secretariat up to the summer of 2017. The author clarifies the state of play of international cooperation on financial services regulation; provides a current understanding of the GATS PCO; analyses how PCOs are drafted in  preferential trade agreements and, finally, he seeks to understand whether alternative approaches to the mainstream understanding of the PCO are possible and suggests options for reform.

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  • Van den Bossche, P. and Zdouc, W., The Law and Policy of the World Trade Organization: Text, Cases and Materials, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017.

    Van den Bossche, P. and Zdouc, W., The Law and Policy of the World Trade Organization: Text, Cases and Materials, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017.
    Retaining the signature clarity and depth that made it an instant classic, this new fourth edition of The Law and Policy of the World Trade Organization examines both the institutional and substantive law of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Fully updated to incorporate all new developments in the WTO's body of case law, this market-leading text offers readers a clear introduction to the basic principles of the multilateral trading system and a detailed examination of the law of the WTO. With integrated questions and assignments which allow readers to easily assess and reinforce their understanding and develop their analytical skills, The Law and Policy of the World Trade Organization is essential reading for all WTO law students and practitioners. Suitable for postgraduate and advanced undergraduate students, this classic text is also the ideal resource for practitioners, diplomats and policymakers looking for an introduction to the law of the WTO.
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  • A Handbook on the WTO Dispute Settlement System / World Trade Organization, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017.

    A Handbook on the WTO Dispute Settlement System / World Trade Organization, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017.

    The WTO dispute settlement system has become one of the most dynamic, effective and successful international dispute settlement systems in the world over the past twenty years. This second edition of A Handbook on the WTO Dispute Settlement System has been compiled by the dispute settlement lawyers of the WTO Secretariat with a view to providing a practice-oriented account of the system. In addition to describing the existing rules and procedures, this accessibly written handbook explains how those rules and procedures have been interpreted by dispute settlement panels and the Appellate Body, and how they have evolved over time. The handbook provides practical information to help various audiences understand the day-to-day operation of the WTO dispute settlement system.

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  • Elsig, M., Hoekman, B. and Pauwelyn, J. (eds.), Assessing the World Trade Organization: Fit for Purpose? Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017.

    Elsig, M., Hoekman, B. and Pauwelyn, J. (eds.), Assessing the World Trade Organization: Fit for Purpose? Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017.

    The World Trade Organization (WTO) recently celebrated twenty years of existence. The general wisdom is that its dispute settlement institutions work well and its negotiation machinery goes through a phase of prolonged crises. Assessing the World Trade Organization overcomes this myopic view and takes stock of the WTO's achievements whilst going beyond existing disciplinary narratives. With chapters written by scholars who have closely observed the development of the WTO in recent years, this book presents the state of the art in thinking about WTO performance. It also considers important issues such as the origins of the multilateral system, the accession process and the WTO's interaction with other international organisations. The contributions shed new light on untold stories, critically review and present existing scholarship, and sketch new research avenues for a future generation of trade scholars. This book will appeal to a wide audience that aims to better understand the drivers and obstacles of WTO performance.

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  • Limenta, M., WTO Retaliation: Effectiveness and Purposes, Oxford, Hart Publishing, 2017.

    Limenta, M., WTO Retaliation: Effectiveness and Purposes, Oxford, Hart Publishing, 2017.
    This book highlights the significance in identifying the purposes of retaliation prior to evaluating its effectiveness. Put differently, it refers to the purpose-based approach of effectiveness. It is a common understanding that the purpose of WTO retaliation is to induce compliance. This book, nevertheless, argues in favour of coexistence of the multiple purposes of retaliation, including reaching a mutually agreeable solution. These views are based on the extensive research conducted on the purposes of WTO retaliation, namely through interpreting Article 22 of the DSU; examining the remedies rules within the frameworks of public international law, and law and economics; and assessing the academic writings/debates as well as the statements of arbitrators.
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  • Messenger, G., The Development of World Trade Organization Law: Examining Change in International Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2016.

    Messenger, G., The Development of World Trade Organization Law: Examining Change in International Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2016.

    The Development of World Trade Organization Law: Examining Change in International Law examines the development of WTO law through an analysis of competing global actors, norms, and institutions. Taking a different approach to social-scientific or traditional legal models, this book argues that such globalized actors are the driving force behind the development of WTO law yet not in control of it. Identifying causal language as key to understanding this development, the volume examines three different causal influences: instrumental, systemic, and constitutive. It applies this causal methodology to three key areas of WTO law: safeguard measures, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and subsidies. The volume provides detailed explanations of why the law has developed as it has and offers insights into the future functioning of the WTO system.

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  • Jemielniak, J., L. Nielsen and H. Palmer Olsen (ed.), Establishing Judicial Authority in International Economic Law, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2016.

    Jemielniak, J., L. Nielsen and H. Palmer Olsen (ed.), Establishing Judicial Authority in International Economic Law, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2016.

    Part I. Courts in International Economic Law – Emergence, Interplay and Proliferation: 1. Assessing the impact of WTO and regional dispute resolution mechanisms on the world trading system David A. Gantz; 2. Establishing permanent regional good offices for trade disputes in Asia Chang-fa Lo; 3. African regional judiciaries and their jurisprudence in trade law matters Amos Saurombe; 4. Coordinated actions in international economic law as illustrated by investment treaty arbitration and World Trade Organization (WTO) disputes Greg Tereposky and Laura Nielsen; Part II. The Development and Usage of Precedents in International Economic Law: 5. Minority rules: precedent and participation before the WTO Appellate Body Joost Pauwelyn; 6. The welfare implications of precedent in international law Krzysztof J. Pelc; 7. Features of trade law adjudication and their impact on the development of legal concepts and precedents Anton K. Schnyder and Stefanie Pfisterer; Part III. Legitimating Decisions in International Economic Law: 8. Judicial ethics in international economic law: what standards of independence and impartiality apply to arbitrators and panelists? Krista Nadakavukaren Schefer; 9. Judicial authority and styles of reasoning: self-presentation between legalism and deliberation Ingo Venzke; 10. Global citizens in international commercial arbitration and WTO dispute resolution Joanna Jemielniak and Laura Nielsen; 11. Proportionality analysis and international commercial arbitration: the example of public policy and domestic courts Benedikt Pirker.

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  • Kennedy, M., WTO Dispute Settlement and the TRIPS Agreement: Applying Intellectual Property Standards in a Trade Law Framework, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2016.

    Kennedy, M., WTO Dispute Settlement and the TRIPS Agreement: Applying Intellectual Property Standards in a Trade Law Framework, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2016.

    The TRIPS Agreement was implemented in the WTO to gain access to a functioning dispute settlement mechanism that could authorize trade sanctions. Yet TRIPS and the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding are based on systems that developed independently in WIPO and GATT. In this book, Matthew Kennedy exposes the challenges created by the integration and independence of TRIPS within the WTO by examining how this trade organization comes to grips with intellectual property disputes. He contrasts the way intellectual property disputes between governments have been handled before and after the establishment of the WTO. Based on practical experience, this book provides a comprehensive review of the issues that arise under the DSU, TRIPS, GATT 1994 and other WTO agreements in intellectual property matters. These range from procedural pitfalls to substantive treaty interpretation and conflicts as well as remedies, including cross-retaliation.

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  • Hodu, N.Y. and Z. Qi, The political economy of WTO implementation and China's approach to litigation in the WTO, Cheltenham, UK : Northampton, MA, USA, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016.

    The concept of compliance with World Trade Organization law as part of international economic law is examined in this discerning book. Cognisance of the key conceptual issues that continue to dominate contemporary debates around rule-making in the world trading system, this must-read text approaches the issue of international norm compliance from a broad perspective. In view of China's role in shaping the political economy of the world trading system in recent years, this book places the discussion within the context of Chinese Confucian values

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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.

    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.

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  • Charnovitz, S. The Path of World Trade Law in the 21st Century, Singapore, World Scientific Publishing, 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?

    Charnovitz, 2015
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  • Qureshi, A.H., Interpreting WTO Agreements: Problems and Perspectives, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 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.

    Qureshi, A.H., 2015
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Database

Blogs

  • EU and Mexico Reach New Agreement on Trade

    Saturday, 21 April 2018, the European Union and Mexico reached an agreement on a new free trade deal. “With this agreement, Mexico joins Canada, Japan and Singapore in the growing list of partners willing to work with the EU in defending open, fair and rules-based trade,” said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. The EU and Mexico wanted to update a trade deal agreed 21 years ago that largely covers industrial goods. The European Union and Mexico agreed in 2015 to modernize their trade relations and held two rounds of talks last year. The election of U.S. President Donald Trump has reinforced Mexico’s need to reduce its reliance on the U.S. imports and exports.

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  • China’s Ascendency as Vanguard of Traditional Knowledge in International Law Fora

    The People’s Republic of China has made great strides towards a commercial rule of law in regard to intellectual property law. International law has helped raise the bar for the protection and enforcement standards of intellectual property law in China. Now, that China has realized the potential of intellectual property law for innovation, culture and commerce it has become a vocal advocate in international law fora to reform intellectual property law in line with their ideas about Traditional Knowledge.

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  • 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.

    Read more

See also

More Research guides on Economic and Financial Law

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