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International Trade Law

Introduction

International trade law is a very complex and an ever expanding area. There are basically four levels of international trade relationships: unilateral measures (national law), bilateral relationships (Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement), plurilateral agreements1, and multilateral arrangements (GATT/WTO). The focus of this guide is on international trade generally and on some of the major bilateral or multilateral international trade agreements: FTA, NAFTA, and GATT/WTO. Many of the sources listed throughout this guide will contain information about other trade agreements and arrangements.

International Trade Generally

Research Guides

Selected Background and General Sources

  • Encyclopedia of Public International Law (Amsterdam; NY: North Holland, 1981-1990; 1992-). The Encyclopedia is also available electronically -- this is an up-to-date version.
  • Inside U.S. Trade (Washington, DC: Inside Washington Publishers,1983-). Electronic version called World Trade Online also available. (UCB only).
  • International Trade Practice (2nd ed., St. Paul, MN: West Group, 1997-).
  • International Trade Reporter (Washington, D.C.:BNA, 1954-). Also available on LexisNexis, Westlaw and on the BNA Publications (UCB only).
  • WTO Reporter (Washington, D.C.:BNA, 2000-). Only available through the BNA Publications database (UCB only).
  • Raj Bhala, International Trade Law: Interdisciplinary Theory and Practice (3rd ed., Newark, NJ : LexisNexis, 2008).
  • Raj Bhala, Dictionary of International Trade Law (Newark, NJ : LexisNexis, 2008).
  • Michael J. Trebilcock and Robert Howse, The Regulation of International Trade (3rd ed., London ; New York : Routledge, 2005).

LawCat Subject Searches

There are many sources on international trade -- both at the Law Library and at other local libraries. These LawCat searches will help you locate other materials, but there are many other relevant subject headings:

international trade
free trade
international law--sources
foreign trade regulation
tariff--law and legislation
investments foreign--law and legislation
commercial treaties
international economic relations
dispute resolution

Some other relevant topics are imports, customs, antidumping, economic sanctions, exports, countertrade, free trade, and trade blocks.

United States—Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

This agreement was signed by President Reagan and Prime Minister Mulroney on January 2, 1988 and, after implementing legislation was enacted in the United States and Canada, the Agreement entered into force on January 1, 1989. Its main purpose is to eliminate all tariffs on trade between the U.S. and Canada by January 1, 1998. According to Treaties in Force, " [t]his agreement is suspended, subject to certain transition arrangements with respect to dispute settlement proceedings under Chapters 18 and 19, for such time as the United States and Canada are parties to the North American Free Trade Agreement signed at Washington, Ottawa, and Mexico City December 8, 11, 14, and 17, 1992." (p.49, 2003).

Sources for the text of FTA

  • The text of the agreement is not available in TIAS or UST, see 27 International Legal Materials 293 (1988).
  • The Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (Ottawa, Ont.: The International Trade Communications Group, Dept. of External Affairs, 1988).
  • J. Johnson and J. Schachter, The Free Trade Agreement: A Comprehensive Guide (Aurora, Ont.: Canada Law Book, 1988).
  • LexisNexis ("International Trade" in the Source Directory).
  • Westlaw (IEL database).

Implementing Legislation

United States - Canada Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act of 1988, Pub. L. No. 100-449, 102 Stat. 1851 (1988), 19 USC 2112 note. See the code for amendments.

Selected Sources for Commentary and Background Information on FTA

  • Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement: The Global Impact (Washington, DC: Institute for International Economics, 1988).
  • Understanding the Free Trade Agreement (Donald M. McRae and Debra P. Steger eds., Halifax, N.S. : Institute for Research on Public Policy = Institut de recherches politiques, 1988).

LawCat Subject Searches

free trade--canada
free trade--united states
tariff--canada
tariff--united states
tariff--law and legislation--united states
tariff--law and legislation--canada
canada--commerce--united states
canada--commercial policy
united states--commerce--canada

Free Trade Area of the Americas Agreement (FTAA)

In December 1994, the Summit of the Americas was held to begin the effort to unite the economies of the Western Hemisphere. Since then, there have been several Ministerial meetings and Summits to negotiate the proposed agreement. The FTAA will be established by 2005 with the goal of progressively eliminating barriers to trade and investment in the region.

Sources for the draft text of FTAA

Selected Sources for Commentary and Background Information on FTAA

LawCat Subject Searches

Free Trade Area of the Americas (Organization)
Free trade -- America
Free trade
America -- Economic integration
Summit of the Americas

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)/World Trade Organization (WTO)

The GATT is one third of the Bretton Woods system that was created after World War II to ensure a stable trade and economic world environment. The IMF and the World Bank are the other two bodies created by the Bretton Woods system. The GATT has completed 8 rounds of multilateral trade negotiations (including the Uruguay Round). The GATT is a multilateral agreement and the text can be located at 55 UNTS 194, TIAS 1700. The Final Act from the Uruguay Round was concluded on December 15, 1993 and produced the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement and its annexes. The text is located at 1867 UNTS 14. The Annexes, which contain the WTO agreement, GATS, TRIPS, etc. are in the subsequent UNTS volumes 1868 and 1869). GATT 1947 and GATT 1994 are two distinct agreements. GATT 1994 incorporates the GATT 1947 provisions (except for the Protocol on Provisional Application).

Sources for the text of GATT and WTO Agreements

Implementing Legislation

Uruguay Round Agreements Act , Pub. L. 103-465, 108 Stat. 4809 (1994), 19 USC 3501. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see "Short Title" note in the code.

GATT/WTO Documents

Most GATT documents from 1947-1996 are only available in microfiche. From 1995 to present, the publicly available WTO documents are available at the WTO Web site. There is a project underway to make some of the GATT documents available on the Web, see GATT Digitial Archive 1947-1994.

For more detailed information on researching GATT/WTO documents, see WTO/GATT Research.

LawCat Subject Searches

general agreement on tariffs and trade organization
uruguay round
tokyo round
tariff--law and legislation
foreign trade regulation
world trade organization

Commentary and Background

  • Analytical Index: Guide to GATT Law and Practice (Geneva: GATT, 1994) [KJ689 .G371 1994].
  • WTO Analytical Index: Guide to WTO Law and Practice (Lanham, MD, U.S.A. : Bernan, 2003) [on order].
  • Dispute Resolution in the World Trade Organisation (London: Cameron May, 1998) [K4600 .D57 1998].
  • Dunkel Draft (NY: Hein, 1992) [KJ689.A12 U78].
  • From GATT to the WTO: The Multilateral Trading System in the new Millenium (The Hague ; Boston : Kluwer Law International, 2000) [K4603 .F76 2000].
  • The GATT Uruguay Round: A Negotiating History, 1986-1992 (Boston: Kluwer 1993-) [K4603 1987 .G38 1993].
  • Handbook of WTO/GATT Dispute Settlement (Hudson, NY: Transnational Jurists, 1991-) [on order].
  • Robert Hudec, Developing Countries in the GATT Legal System (Brookfield, VT: Gower, 1987) [KJ689 .H835].
  • Robert Hudec, "The GATT Legal System and World Trade Diplomacy (Salem, NH: Butterworth, 1993) [KJ689 .H83 1990].
  • Robert Hudec, Enforcing International Trade Law: the Evolution of the Modern GATT Legal System (Salem, NH: Butterworth, 1993) [KJ689 .H83 1993].
  • John Jackson, Restructuring the GATT System (NY: Council on Foreign Relations Pr., 1990) [KJ689 .J33].
  • John Jackson, The World Trade Organization: Constitution and Jurisprudence (London: Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1998) [K4600 .J32 1998].
  • John Jackson, The World Trading System: Law and Policy of International Economic Relations (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1997) [K4602.2 1997].
  • John Jackson, The Jurisprudence of GATT and the WTO: Insights on Treaty Law and Economic Relations (Cambridge; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2000). [K4602.2 2000].
  • Law and Practice of the World Trade Organization (NY: Oceana, 1995-). [K4600 .L38]
  • Status of Legal Instruments [GATT] (Geneva: GATT, 1971-1993) [KJ689 .C764 SL].
  • Status of Legal Instruments [World Trade Organization] (Geneva : WTO Publications, 1996-) [K4600 .W67].
  • Uruguay Round Trade Agreements, Texts of Agreements, Implementing Bill, Statement of Administrative Action, and Required Supporting Statements: Message from the President of the United States Transmitting the Uruguay Round Trade Agreements, Texts of Agreements, Implementing Bill, Statement of Administrative Action and Required Supporting Statements (Washington: U.S. G.P.O.,1994) [KF1976 .A67 1994].
  • WTO Reporter (Washington, D.C.:BNA, 2000-). Only available through the BNA Publications database through the Law Library web site. (UCB only). To access from home, be sure to set the proxy settings on your browser. Once the proxy settings have been set, you will be prompted for your CALNET user id and passphrase.
  • World Trade Organization (news and documents) (World Trade Online). (UCB only). To access from home, be sure to set the proxy settings on your browser. Once the proxy settings have been set, you will be prompted for your CALNET user id and passphrase.
  • The WTO web site provides lots of useful information. See the Trade Topics section for ovierviews and links to documentation on such topics as goods, services, intellectual property, and many other topics.

Dispute Resolution

FTA Panel Review Decisions

  • LexisNexis (ITRADE; USCFTA) If using the web version, select "International Trade" from the Source Directory.
  • Westlaw (NAFTA-BIP includes FTA panel decisions from 1/89-4/94).
  • North American Free Trade Agreements (Dobbs Ferry, NY: Oceana, 1992-) [KF6668.N62 1992 N66].
  • International Trade Reporter (Washington, D.C.:BNA, 1954-) [KF1975.A15 I57]. Also available on LexisNexis, Westlaw, and on the BNA Publications database through the Law Library web site.  Mostly summaries. (UCB only).
  • Summaries are published in the Federal Register (Washington, DC: Office of the Federal Regiser, 1936-).
  • Organization of American States Foreign Trade Information System.
  • NAFTA Secretariat, FTA Panels.

NAFTA Panel Decisions

GATT/WTO Panel Reports

  • Basic Instruments and Selected Documents (BISD) (Geneva: GATT, 1953-) [KJ689.C764 B37]. Also available on Lexis.
  • WTO Basic Instruments and Selected Documents (Lanham, MD: Bernan Press, 2003-) [on order].
  • LexisNexis (ITRADE; GTTWTO) If using the web version, select "International Trade" or "International Law" from the Source Directory.
  • Westlaw (IEL or WTO-DEC).
  • Handbook of WTO/GATT Dispute Settlement (Irvigton-on-Hudson, New York : Transnational Juris Publications, 1991-) [on order].
  • International Trade Law Reports (London: Cameron May, 1996-) [KJ689.A12 I58].
  • International Trade Reporter (Washington, D.C.:BNA, 1954-) [KF1975.A15 I57]. Also available on LexisNexis, Westlaw, and on the BNA Publications database through the Law Library web site. 
  • Summaries are published in the Federal Register(Washington, DC: Office of the Federal Regiser, 1936-) [KF70 .A2].
  • WTO website: Panel and Appellate Body Reports.
  • Law and Practice of the World Trade Organization (New York: Oceana, 1995-) [K4600 .L38]. Three volumes on dispute resolution.
  • Organization of American States Foreign Trade Information System, GATT reports (1948-1994) and
    WTO reports (1996-present)
  • World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Decisions: Bernan's Annotated Reporter (Lanham, MD: Bernan Press, 1998-) [K4601.4 .W67].  This set is annotated and is not considered official.
  • Dispute Settlement Reports (Cambridge; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press ; [Geneva] : World Trade Organization, c2000-). [K4601.4 .W68].  This set is not annotated and is considered the "official" WTO version.
  • Worldtradelaw.net. All of the GATT and WTO panel dispute settlement reports are available from this site in PDF (freely available). You can search all of the GATT and WTO reports using one convenient search mechanism. Of particular interest are the dispute settlement commentaries (UCB only). These documents summarize and provide detailed analysis of all WTO Panel and Appellate Body Reports.
  • WTO - Dispute Panel Decisions (World Trade Online) (UCB only). These documents summarize and provide detailed analysis of all WTO Panel and Appellate Body Reports.

Selected International Organizations, Institutions and Regional Agreements

Below is a sampling of some of the international organizations and institutions involved in international trade and international economic law.

Periodicals

Periodicals and law reviews are excellent sources for information on the major trade agreements as well as on international trade generally. A list of periodical indices and sources of the full texts of periodical articles online follows. To access from home, be sure to set the proxy settings on your browser. Once the proxy settings have been set, you will be prompted for your CALNET user id and passphrase.

  • Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (London: Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Chicago: American Association of Law Libraries, 1960-) [Reading Room K2 .I38 IFLP]. Also available on the web (UCB only). A multilingual index to articles and book reviews appearing in approximately 492 legal journals published worldwide, except those from the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and Australia.
  • Index to Legal Periodicals and Books (New York: H.W. Wilson Co.) [Reading Room K2 .I38 ILP]. Also available on LEXIS (LAWREV library, ILP file) and WESTLAW (ILP) (Boalt only). This is the only print index with good historical coverage. Covers 925 legal journals, yearbooks, institutes, bar association organs, law reviews, and government publications originating in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • Legal Journals Index (Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire: Legal Information Resources Ltd., 1986-1999). The print was discontinued in 1999, but the current version is available on WESTLAW (LJI) (Boalt only). Indexes approximately 485 journals from the UK & Europe. Coverage is from 1986 on.
  • Legal Resource Index. Available on LEXIS (LAWREV library, LGLIND file) and WESTLAW (LRI). Also available on from the Law Library's homepage as LegalTrac (UCB only). The print equivalent is called Current Law Index (Los Altos, CA: Information Access Corp.,1980-) [Reading Room K2 .C8]. Indexes over 850 journals from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia.
  • PAIS International (New York: Public Affairs Information Service, 1991-) [print version available in main library]. Also available on the web (UCB only). Provides international coverage of materials in government, international relations, legislation, political science, statistics, and related areas.

Electronic Sources

Internet

There are many sites on the Internet which focus on trade and trade-related issues. Listed below is a sampling of some of the sites available. Many of these sites link to many other sites. Keep in mind some of the problems with the Internet: there is no authority control, no general indexing, and materials may disappear the next time you use the site. If you cite to something on the Web, be sure to include the URL and the date.

Lexis

International Trade Library

US Court of International Trade (11/80-current)
International Trade Commission Decisions, Administrative Law Decisions, General Counsel Memoranda
US/Canada FTA Panel Decisions (from 1989)
NAFTA
NAFTA Panel Decisions
GATT
GATT Panel Decisions
GATT Basic Instruments and Selected Documents (BISD)
WTO
WTO Dispute Settlement Decision
Trade Policy Reviews
Basic Documants of International Economic Law

International Law Library

NAFTA
NAFTA panel decisions
GATT
ASIL documents
ILM treaties
IBFD international tax materials
Basic Documants of International Economic Law

WestLaw

ASIL (Am. Society of International Law publications)
IEL (International Economic Law Documents)
ILM (International Legal Materials)
ILM-INDX (ILM index)
GATT
NAFTA
NAFTA-BIP (panel reports)
WTO-DEC (WTO dispute settlement decisions)
USTREATIES (US treaties & international agreements, 6/79-)
BNA-ITR (International Trade Reporter)
Foreign news and foreign business sources

Subscription Databases

Some of these databases are accessible from home. To access them from home, be sure to set the proxy settings on your browser. Once the proxy settings have been set, you will be prompted for your CALNET user id and passphrase.

Prepared by Marci Hoffman, International and Foreign Law Librarian, UC Berkeley Law Library. Prepared January 2004, updated October 2008.

Last edited by Michael Lindsey, 13 May 2009