International Relations Trade Law
by
Aoife O’Donoghue
  • LAST REVIEWED: 15 November 2016
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 May 2012
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199743292-0057

Introduction

Trade law may be defined as the law that regulates the flow of goods and services between and across states, regional trade areas, or trade regions. More often, what is being referred to is international trade law, which is characterized by a large number of multilateral and bilateral treaties, customary international law, and an increasing corpus of case law as well as academic literature. Historically, the main body of trade law emerged from bilateral trade agreements, which incorporated other areas of international economic law, such as investment law, but in the post–World War II era multilateral treaties have become more common. An aspect of their development is the establishment of regional trade areas among a number of states within a particular region. The most common features of trade treaties include most-favored nation and national treatment clauses. The most significant multilateral agreement is the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), signed in 1947, which is the precursor of the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO was established in 1995 and is the only global trade organization. Along with GATT, the WTO now incorporates several treaties, including the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The WTO established an institutional structure for its members and a compulsory dispute-settlement mechanism. It integrates a continuous system of reform and negotiations known as trade rounds; the Doha Development Round is underway. Regional trade agreements are another significant aspect of trade law. The most highly developed examples of such agreements are the treaties establishing the European Union, the only regional trade area that is itself a member of the WTO. Regional trade agreements vary greatly. Some are free trade areas, which eliminate tariffs and import quotas between participating members. Other regional trade areas are more integrated and are referred to as customs unions, because they combine a free trade area with a common external tariff and trade policy. Several significant regional trade areas include the free trade area established by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); the free trade area established by an agreement between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM; see Caribbean Community Secretariat, cited under Websites) and the Dominican Republic; the free trade area comprising nineteen states established by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA; cited under Websites); the Association of Southeastern Nations Free Trade Area (ASEAN AFTA); the liberalization of trade of members provided by the Customs Union between Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus (cited under Websites); the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA); and the free trade area between the Argentine Republic, the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Republic of Paraguay, and the Eastern Republic of Uruguay established by Mercosur (Southern Common Market; cited under Websites), among several others. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development(UNCTAD); cited under Data Sources: Online), established in 1964, is also heavily involved in trade law.

General Overviews

The majority of texts published after 1995 on international trade law deal almost exclusively with the trade law established under the World Trade Organization (WTO). Other than general introductions to trade law (Trebilcock 2011), these texts usually focus on two specific areas, the first covering examinations of the WTO’s institutional structure, including the dispute-settlement system, and the second providing an overview of the specific trade agreements that are included within the organization, such as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS); see van den Bossche 2008, Trebilcock and Howse 2012, and Bhala 2008. These texts all give a general historical overview of the development of trade law as well as the economic assumptions, such as comparative advantage, that underpin the form and substance of the WTO. Other general texts take a more case-based approach (Guzmán and Pauwelyn 2009), while still others are more policy oriented (Matsushita, et al. 2006). Some texts take a perspective that enables analysis of the organization (Hoekman and Kostecki 2009) beyond a strict direct approach. There is also a large number of general texts on the various regional trade areas; these include writings on the laws within the regions as well as broader works that compare the workings of varied trade regimes and their respective interactions with the WTO (Bethlehem, et al. 2009).The interactions with new trading blocs is also reflected in the literature (Snyder 2002). Many texts are aimed at academics and postgraduate students, as trade law is often taught as a postgraduate course.

  • Bethlehem, Daniel, Donald McRae, Rodney Neufeld, and Isabelle van Damme, eds. The Oxford Handbook of International Trade Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

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    This is a useful guide for anyone conducting research in the area of trade law who wishes to understand the main areas of the trade debate. It is divided between sections on the substantive law of the WTO, its dispute-settlement procedures, and its wider framework.

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  • Bhala, Raj. International Trade Law: Interdisciplinary Theory and Practice. 3d ed. Newark, NJ: LexisNexis, 2008.

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    This book provides a very wide-ranging analysis of trade, including of elements beyond the scope of the WTO. It incorporates analysis of the more recent trade negotiations under the Doha Development Round as well as analysis of the workings of the WTO. The book also provides an overview of the broader questions involving regional trade relations and “developing countries” as designated by the United Nations.

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  • Guzmán, Andrew T., and Joost H. B. Pauwelyn. International Trade Law. Austin, TX: Wolters Kluwer Law, 2009.

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    This general textbook takes a case-based approach to understanding the historical development of international trade law. While primarily a textbook for students of trade law, it does offer an instructive introduction, particularly to the case law, and is useful to those wishing to come to grips with the impact that dispute settlement has had on trade law.

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  • Hoekman, Bernard M., and Michael M. Kostecki. The Political Economy of the World Trading System. 3d ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

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    This book offers an authoritative overview of the workings of the WTO, taking a political and economic perspective on the internal operation of the organization. In particular, the book takes account of the increasing importance of countries in Asia, Latin America, and Africa and the role of business groups and nongovernmental organizations in trade policy negotiations.

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  • Matsushita, Mitsuo, Thomas J. Schoenbaum, and Petros C. Mavroidis. The World Trade Organization: Law, Practice, and Policy. 2d ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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    This textbook offers both a policy- and a practice-based approach to understanding the workings of the WTO. Based around the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the book also gives extensive coverage of the organization’s Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) and is a useful introduction to the area.

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  • Snyder, Francis G., ed. Regional and Global Regulation of International Trade. Oxford: Hart, 2002.

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    This book brings together a number of experts on regional and international trade law to examine various thematic issues regarding the interaction of the different trading regimes. It covers topics from the roles of China, India, and the European Union in world trade to the WTO’s response to regional integration as well as the issues that arise due to the differences in the regimes. This book is primarily aimed at an academic audience.

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  • Trebilcock, Michael J. Understanding Trade Law. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2011.

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    This book is a good general introduction to world trade law. It is an easily accessible text and as such is a good introduction for anyone new to trade law who wishes to understand the basics of its operation. It discusses both the trade agreements themselves as well as the relevant cases in the area.

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  • Trebilcock, Michael J., and Robert Howse. The Regulation of International Trade. 4th ed. Oxford: Routledge, 2012.

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    This book gives a comprehensive overview of the law established under the WTO. The majority of the book covers the law of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), although specific chapters cover the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and other related topics, such as “developing countries,” a status designated by the United Nations; the environment; labor rights; and competition law. This is quite an extensive overview of trade law that is suitable for postgraduate students.

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  • van den Bossche, Peter. The Law and Policy of the World Trade Organization: Text, Cases, and Materials. 2d ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

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    This comprehensive book is thematic in its approach to the treatment of trade law in the WTO. An extensive overview, it uses a wide range of sources, with particular emphasis on quoting cases and policy documents from the WTO’s dispute-settlement system. It is useful for postgraduate students and as a reference guide for researchers.

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Data Sources

There are a few print sources and many more online sources in the field of trade law. While primary materials regarding trade negotiations and individual trade agreements were historically kept secret by states, in the late 20th and early 21st centuries the World Trade Organization (WTO), in a move toward transparency, has increasingly made information available online. Yet there still can be difficulty in getting information about specific negotiations, which makes accessing primary materials at times difficult.

Print

The World Trade Organization publishes a number of treaties both online (see Data Sources: Online) and through Cambridge University Press, a compilation of which is available in World Trade Organization 1999. Wolfrum and Stoll 2010 is a set of commentaries that gives a comprehensive and complete overview of the core areas of the legal texts of the WTO.

  • Wolfrum, Rüdiger, and Peter-Tobias Stoll, eds. Max Planck Commentaries on World Trade Law. 7 vols. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2010.

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    These volumes cover a large range of topics in a systematic fashion. The first volume introduces the WTO. The second volume discusses its institutions and dispute-settlement procedures. The third volume deals with technical standards, health, and the environment. The fourth volume tackles antidumping, subsidies, and safeguards. The fifth volume deals with trade in goods, and the sixth and seventh volumes cover intellectual property rights and services.

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  • World Trade Organization. The Legal Texts: The Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511818424Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book is part of the series of books produced by the WTO and published by Cambridge University Press. It contains the text of all the treaties covered by the WTO, including the text of the original General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) signed in 1947. While these materials are widely available online, the layout and functionality of this book make it a worthwhile basic source for those intending to conduct extensive research or study trade law.

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Online

The World Trade Organization website is a comprehensive source for both online and printed texts (also see World Trade Organization 1999, cited under Print). Regional trade agreements often have accompanying websites (see Websites) that can be a source of materials, though their content varies among organizations. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development website provides trade statistics and other analysis, particularly concentrating on “developing countries,” a status issued by the United Nations. There are also several policy websites, blogs, and academic websites that offer useful information. International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development is a useful guide to nongovernmental organizations and policy papers produced outside of state-led research. International Trade Centre, the website of the joint World Trade Organization–United Nations agency, is a very good resource for development-related issues. World Trade Law.net is a good trade news website that is regularly updated, while Lex Mercatoria is a good resource for primary documentation, particularly treaty law.

  • International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development.

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    The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development is a nongovernmental organization that aims to establish a global network of governmental, nongovernmental, and intergovernmental partners with the aim of combining trade policy with sustainable development. Its comprehensive website maintains weekly updates and policy papers on various aspects of trade law. Some of the content on the website is also available in Spanish, Russian, French, and Chinese.

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  • International Trade Centre.

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    The International Trade Centre is a joint venture of the WTO and the United Nations. Its website maintains information on topics related to development and trade, such as the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations and the Aid for Trade program of the WTO, both of which work to enable “developing” and “least developed countries,” statuses determined by the United Nations, to build the capacity to fully function and benefit from trade. This website is also available in Spanish and French.

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  • Lex Mercatoria.

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    Lex Mercatoria is an extensive database of treaties relating to all aspects of economic and commercial law. Specifically, it offers an index of treaties within trade law dating back to the 1800s, with links to the original documentation where available. The site also maintains a database of resources and collections that are available worldwide. This is a very useful database for those interested in examining the wide array of treaty law, which forms a vital part of trade law.

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  • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

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    The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development maintains a comprehensive website with a broad range of policy documents and statistics that are easily accessible on the site’s digital library. Topics covered on the site include least developed countries, globalization, and investment. This site is also available in French and Spanish.

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  • WorldTradeLaw.net.

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    WorldTradeLaw.net is a very useful resource for garnering information on the global trade regime. Its news section is particularly useful for keeping up-to-date with events within the WTO and beyond. It also has a useful set of links to other resources, regional guides to trade law, and a searchable database of case law.

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  • World Trade Organization.

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    The WTO has a very comprehensive website offering a wealth of information on various aspects of trade law. The site contains information dealing with the Doha Development Round of negotiations, the dispute-settlement system, and the Trade Policy Review Mechanism as well as a number of case studies and videos regarding specific issues related to the organization. The website maintains a very useful dictionary of trade law terms and a comprehensive database of all the legal documents relating to the organization. The website, but not all the documentation, is also available in French and Spanish.

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Journals

A number of journals are devoted to trade law, including World Trade Review, Journal of International Economic Law, and Journal of World Trade. These three journals are good resources for understanding the current debates within academia regarding trade.

World Trade Organization

Analysis of the workings of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), has resulted in an enormous amount of literature on the institutional infrastructure, the substantive law, the impact on other organizations, and the economic rationale that underpins the organization. A number of books focus specifically on core areas of trade law, such as the national treatment and most-favored nation clauses within GATT, the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Particularly since the creation of the WTO in 1995 and the ensuing controversy surrounding the impact the organization has had on development, a vast amount of literature has been published not only on the organization itself and its substantive law but also on its interaction with other aspects of public, international, and domestic law. This literature has been produced in response to concern about the environment and labor rights, among several other topics. The WTO itself copublishes a range of monographs on the workings of the organization though Cambridge University Press.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the oldest and most developed multilateral trade treaty, has produced a wider array of commentary than other areas of trade law. Until the formation of the WTO, the original GATT, signed in 1947, stood in place of a global trade organization. While GATT 1947 is still in force, it has been supplemented by GATT 1994, and it now forms part of the wider law of the WTO (see WTO Trade Topics). All the general texts in this section deal with GATT, with the commentary on global trade law produced prior to 1995 focusing entirely on GATT. Since the creation of the WTO, a large quantity of work has focused entirely on GATT 1947 and 1994 in operation (Irwin, et al. 2008; Lester, et al. 2008). Other texts deal with specific aspects of the GATT regime directly (Choi 2003, Melloni 2005, Hudec 2010). Additional important texts take a more contextual approach and deal with issues related to economics and policy (Bagwell and Staiger 2002; Barton, et al. 2008).

  • Bagwell, Kyle, and Robert W. Staiger. The Economics of the World Trading System. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002.

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    This very good book brings together a number of themes that are essential to understanding the workings of the early 21st-century global trade regime. These themes are described in chapters on the theory behind trade agreements and the history and design of GATT as well as on most-favored nation status, agriculture, and competition. This is a very good resource for anyone doing research beyond the details of GATT legal issues and seeking to understand the context in which it operates.

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  • Barton, John H., Judith L. Goldstein, Timothy E. Josling, and Richard H. Steinberg. The Evolution of the Trade Regime: Politics, Law, and Economics of the GATT and the WTO. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008.

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    This book uses political science, law, and economics approaches to understand the evolution of the WTO. It examines the role of nonstate actors, the proliferation of regional trade agreements, and several other perspectives to draw a very broad understanding of the role of GATT. This is a good book for those who wish to consider trade from a multidisciplinary perspective.

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  • Choi, Won-Mong. “Like Products” in International Trade Law: Towards a Consistent GATT/WTO Jurisprudence. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199260782.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book takes an economic perspective on understanding one of the core aspects of nondiscrimination under GATT—that of “like products.” It analyzes the use of like products and their substitutes under the current system and offers some suggestions for a better use of the provisions. It will be of use to those doing research at the postgraduate and other academic levels who wish to understand like products.

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  • Hudec, Robert E.. Developing Countries in the GATT Legal System. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511976810Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is a comprehensive book that focuses on many of the core issues faced by members of the WTO that are ranked as “developing” and “least developed countries” by the United Nations. It covers the entirety of GATT’s operation since 1947 as well as the more recent issues directly related to the GATT policy regarding questions of reciprocity and decision-making processes.

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  • Irwin, Douglas A., Petros C. Mavroidis, and Alan O. Sykes. The Genesis of the GATT. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511817953Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book concentrates on the negotiation and formation of the GATT in 1947 with three main focuses: creation, negotiation, and rationales. Helpfully, it also includes documentation from the process of formation of GATT, enabling the reader to draw his or her own conclusions from the materials.

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  • Lester, Simon, Bryan Mercurio, Arwel Davies, and Kara Leitner. World Trade Law: Text, Materials, and Commentary. Oxford: Hart, 2008.

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    This textbook is aimed at postgraduate students but is also a good reference guide for researchers in the area that will allow them to come to grips with the various sources available on the law of the WTO. It has a detailed section on GATT and more limited commentary on the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). It also tackles issues related to social policy, such as the role of developing countries.

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  • Melloni, Mattia. The Principle of National Treatment in the GATT: A Survey of the Jurisprudence, Practice, and Policy. Brussels: Bruylant, 2005.

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    This book describes the jurisprudence of dispute settlement, which set out the core principle of national treatment within GATT 1947 and GATT 1994 before and after the establishment of the WTO. In doing so it also focuses on the development of national treatment in European Union and US courts. It will be of interest to those wishing to understand the workings of GATT and more specifically national treatment within trade law.

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  • WTO Trade Topics.

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    This page on the WTO website is divided between various aspects of trade in goods, including market access, barriers to trade, agriculture, and antidumping, among several others. This is a good resource for understanding the basics of GATT in operation and the cases that have been undertaken under its mandate as well as new negotiations underway at the WTO relating to GATT.

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General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)

The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is the first legally enforceable set of multilateral rules covering international trade in services. While all services are covered by GATS, it is based on an opt-in system for states in which they choose which of their services come within the regulation of GATS and which do not. Documentary detail is available on the Services Trade web page (see also World Trade Organization Secretariat 2005). The most-favored nation status applies to all services, offering one-off temporary exemptions, while national treatment applies in cases in which commitments are made by states in particular areas, which tends to be the area of focus within the literature (Diebold and Renggli 2010). A system of progressive liberalization through further negotiations is thus established. In comparison to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), GATS is a relatively new trade treaty, and thus the literature in the area falls in the post-1995 era (Delimatsis 2007; Panizzon, et al. 2008). The difficulties associated with establishing a trade regime in services are also tackled in the literature (Findlay and Warren 2000). All general texts have sections on the operation of GATS, but there are also a number of specific books that deal with aspects of GATS.

  • Delimatsis, Panagiotis. International Trade in Services and Domestic Regulations: Necessity, Transparency, and Regulatory Diversity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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    This book offers a very useful analysis of the workings of GATS and how it has been integrated into domestic legal systems as well as its impact within regional trade agreements. A very detailed analysis, it is of use to those conducting specific research on the operation of GATS and is a useful reference text for all matters relating to its operation.

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  • Diebold, Nicolas F., and Froriep Renggli. Non-discrimination in International Trade in Services “Likeness” in WTO/GATS. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511675843Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book provides a detailed overview of one of the core issues in trade law, nondiscrimination, and the use of likeness to analyze the functioning of the GATS regime. It looks at the various forms of services under GATS and the methodologies employed in understanding likeness in services. This is a useful book for those researching GATS as well as likeness and nondiscrimination in the WTO regime.

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  • Findlay, Christopher Charles, and Tony Warren, eds. Impediments to Trade in Services: Measurement and Policy Implications. Sydney, Australia: Routledge, 2000.

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    This edited collection sets out issues that it suggests need to be dealt with in the course of the Doha Development Round at the WTO. More specifically, it deals with impediments that are specific to services and to the investment of services and offers a useful outline of some complications that have arisen under the system introduced by GATS.

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  • Panizzon, Marion, Nicole Pohl, and Pierre Sauvé, eds. GATS and the Regulation of International Trade in Services. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511494543Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This edited collection provides a broad array of analyses across all the key areas of the services regime under the WTO. It includes chapters on important areas of negotiation and debate and uses case studies and a multidisciplinary approach to attempt to understand the broad array of issues that arise under GATS. This is a useful resource for anyone wishing to understand the multitude of issues that arise under the system.

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  • Services Trade.

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    On the WTO’s website the Services Trade page is a useful resource for information on GATS. It offers a guide to the legal texts and the case law and provides information on specific case studies. Usefully, it also has a section divided into different forms of services, such as tourism, public health, and legal services, among others. It details each member state’s specific commitments.

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  • World Trade Organization Secretariat. A Handbook on the GATS Agreement. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511981074Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book provides a basic overview of the operation of the GATS agreement within the WTO. As a book written by the WTO itself, it is very positive on the role the agreement plays; however, it does give a comprehensive introduction to the workings of the agreement, including detailed guidelines on understanding the terms of each country’s commitments under GATS.

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Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

Intellectual property rights were regulated through several international conventions prior to the establishment of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement. The World Intellectual Property Organization cooperates with the WTO in the regulation of the various multilateral treaties that deal with individual property rights (see TRIPS Material on the WTO Website and World Intellectual Property Organization). TRIPS incorporates these regimes into its governance system (Taubman 2011). It provides minimum standards for the establishment of protection for intellectual property, though most protection does not go much beyond national treatment. TRIPS has also provided a system of dispute settlement through the WTO for intellectual property rights, which prior to the agreement was not as well established. While historically there has been a large amount of literature dealing with the various intellectual property treaties that come within the purview of the World Intellectual Property Organization, as with the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) (Arup 2008), most of the commentary dealing with TRIPS was published after 1995. Several texts directly relate to doing research in the area of international intellectual property regulation (Correa 2010a and Correa 2010b). The general texts in this section also deal with TRIPS. Several books deal with the TRIPS-Plus regime (Gervais 2007) and the effect that TRIPS has had on the developing world (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development 2005) and public health (Hestermeyer 2008), areas in which intellectual property regulation has historically been weak.

  • Arup, Christopher. The World Trade Organization Knowledge Agreements. 2d ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511674532Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The book focuses on knowledge agreements and as such covers both services and intellectual property. It centers on the WTO and its implementation of both the GATS and TRIPS, discussing the implication for the trade regulation of the associated areas. In doing so, it concentrates on legal services, genetic codes/essential medicines, and online media as examples of these laws in operation.

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  • Correa, Carlos María, ed. Research Handbook on the Interpretation and Enforcement of Intellectual Property under WTO Rules: Intellectual Property in the WTO. Research Handbooks on the WTO 2. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2010a.

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    A companion piece to Correa 2010b, this volume concentrates more on states and their interaction with intellectual property regulation within the WTO. It would be of benefit to those seeking to conduct comparative state-based research on TRIPS and TRIPS-Plus.

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  • Correa, Carlos María, ed. Research Handbook on the Protection of Intellectual Property under WTO Rules: Intellectual Property in the WTO. Research Handbooks on the WTO 1. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2010b.

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    This edited collection offers an array of articles on the main issues confronting TRIPS. It includes chapters on TRIPS and human rights, core standards, innovation, and issues relating to developing countries. This is a very useful guide for anyone undertaking research in TRIPS, as it offers an outline of the issues and how the debates on these issues are developing.

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  • Gervais, Daniel J., ed. Intellectual Property, Trade, and Development: Strategies to Optimize Economic Development in a TRIPS-Plus Era. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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    This edited collection brings together several perspectives on the role of TRIPS-Plus in both multilateral and regional trade agreements. It also discusses how states’ obligations beyond TRIPS are affecting the development of the law on intellectual property more generally. This is a useful discussion for those researching TRIPS and its operation regarding the more current issues that the proliferation of regional trade agreements has thrown up.

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  • Hestermeyer, Holger. Human Rights and the WTO: The Case of Patents and Access to Medicines. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

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    This book is a guide to one of the challenges faced by the WTO concerning public health and intellectual property regulation. It examines the development of the debate, including access to medicine as a human right. This is a useful guide to both the interaction between human rights and the WTO and the specific issues raised by the public health debate.

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  • Taubman, Antony. A Practical Guide to Working with TRIPS. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

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    This rather brief book gives a very clear overview of the workings of the TRIPS agreement. It is mainly aimed at policy advisers and those who work in international organizations, combining legal analysis with a political overview. Even so, it is useful for those who wish to have a basic understanding of the workings of TRIPS in conducting research on either the WTO or intellectual property.

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  • TRIPS Material on the WTO Website.

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    This section of the WTO’s website offers information on TRIPS, the legal texts, and cases as well as the process of negotiation underway in the Doha Development Round. It also has a specific section on public health and links to the other institutions that cooperate with the WTO. A very good basic resource for those researching TRIPS-related matters.

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  • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development. Resource Book on TRIPS and Development. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

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    This book aims to be a practical resource that provides analysis of all the provisions of the TRIPS agreement. The chapters are divided between copyright and patents and contain sections of the institutional structure and implementation within the organization. This book is a very good resource for key information on TRIPS and its implementation and the impact it has had throughout the world.

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  • World Intellectual Property Organization.

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    The World Intellectual Property Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It operates the global intellectual property regime and monitors treaties that are part of the TRIPS agreement. It has an extensive website with details on the legal regimes in all areas of intellectual property law, case studies, and statistics. It is a very good website for understanding the full breadth of intellectual property regulation.

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Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU)

The Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) is a legal document establishing the dispute-settlement system for WTO members on issues arising under the WTO agreement and its annexes. It is widely held to be the organization’s major success. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1947 established a dispute-settlement process, but it was widely considered to be too political and slow-moving. A large number of disputes are settled before the formal system is utilized, and the process undertaken in this preliminary stage aims to maintain the diplomatic settlement of disputes as a central focus of the WTO. World Trade Organization Secretariat 2004 and the World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement web page are both good resources for understanding the wide array of documentation available in this area. The Dispute Settlement Body consists of all the WTO members. However, only ad hoc panels plus the permanent Appellate Body are allowed to hear and deliver reports on complaints (World Trade Organization 2002). As with the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), much of the literature on the DSU dates from after 1995, although there are references to the older dispute-settlement procedure under GATT 1947. The particular difficulties of developing countries are dealt with in several texts (Shaffer and Meléndez-Ortiz 2010). Palmeter and Mavroidi 2004 gives a very good introduction to both the cases and the issues relating to remedies and jurisdiction. The various issues that have arisen since the DSU came into operation are also discussed in several texts (Sacerdoti, et al. 2006; Bown and Pauwelyn 2010).

  • Bown, Chad P., and Joost Pauwelyn, eds. The Law, Economics, and Politics of Retaliation in WTO Dispute Settlement. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511674594Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The book concentrates on the development of the system of retaliation within the WTO’s dispute-settlement system. It utilizes a number of case studies and cites the effects of a number of specific articles of the DSU. While it is concerned specifically with the dispute-settlement procedure within the organization, it does provide a useful analysis of the remedies available to members.

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  • Palmeter, N. David, and Petros C. Mavroidi. Dispute Settlement in the World Trade Organization Practice and Procedure. 2d ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139177931Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This commentary gives a comprehensive overview of the workings of the DSU. It is divided between sections on the actual operation of the WTO’s panels and Appellate Body and sections on jurisdiction and remedies. It is presented as a tool for those working within the field but also works as a good basic guide for anyone researching dispute settlement within the organization.

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  • Sacerdoti, Giorgio, Alan Yanovich, and Jan Bohanes, eds. The WTO at Ten: The Contribution of the Dispute Settlement System. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

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    This book covers a diversity of topics, from the concept of judicial economy to the human rights and environmental impacts of the WTO’s system. It provides a good commentary on the controversies and successes that the dispute-settlement mechanism has faced since it came into operation.

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  • Shaffer, Gregory C., and Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz, eds. Dispute Settlement at the WTO: The Developing Country Experience. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511663192Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This edited collection brings together case studies of a number of developing countries to compare the varying experiences they have had using the WTO dispute-settlement process. It highlights many of the differences in the countries’ experiences with the process and as such is a useful resource for researchers looking at the effectiveness of the regime as well as at the developing countries themselves.

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  • World Trade Organization. Dispute Settlement Reports 2000. 9 vols. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

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    This collection brings together all the panel and Appellate Body reports of the WTO. While these are also available online from World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement, this is a useful resource for those who wish to have paper copies of the volumes. The reports also contain details of arbitration reports. Arbitration occurs when disputes between states are settled outside of the panel and Appellate Body system.

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  • World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement.

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    On the WTO’s website this specific section deals with dispute settlement within the organization. It contains details of all the complaints that have been undertaken under the WTO’s DSU and details of pre-WTO disputes under the GATT 1947 system. The website, though not all the documentation, is also available in French and Spanish.

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  • World Trade Organization Secretariat. A Handbook on the WTO Dispute Settlement System. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

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    This book, produced by the WTO itself, gives a very comprehensive overview of the workings of the DSU. It outlines details on the various bodies involved in dispute settlement, how disputes are brought forth, and the role of developing countries and offers a general understanding of how successful the dispute-settlement procedure has been. This is a very clear basic guide to the operation of dispute settlement within the organization.

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Other Trade Topics

Besides the broad discussions in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU), there are a number of other important topics within the subject of international trade, such as the WTO’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Agreement (see Gruszczynski 2010; Wolfrum, et al. 2007), economic development (Lee 2008), safeguard measures (Lee 2007), subsidies (Bénitah 2001), and agriculture (Ingco and Winters 2008; Orden, et al. 2011). The books in this section give a broad introduction to the many complex issues within individual aspects of trade law, particularly in the Doha Development Round of trade negotiations.

  • Bénitah, Marc. The Law of Subsidies under the GATT/WTO System. The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 2001.

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    This book gives a comprehensive overview of the workings of subsidies under the WTO system, providing an in-depth and technical analysis of the operation of this complex area of trade law and addressing both substantive and procedural issues. It is a good resource for researchers looking for in-depth analysis.

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  • Gruszczynski, Lukasz. Regulating Health and Environmental Risks under WTO Law: A Critical Analysis of the SPS Agreement. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199578924.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book deals with the application of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Agreement. It specifically tackles questions relating to science, risk assessment, and the environment. This is a useful guide for researchers interested in understanding one of the more technical aspects of the WTO agreements.

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  • Ingco, Merlinda D., and L. Alan Winters, eds. Agriculture and the New Trade Agenda Creating a Global Trading Environment for Development. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

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    This book covers the complex area of agriculture negotiations in the WTO. A wide array of authors take varied positions on the many complex issues involved in renegotiating the agricultural regime within the WTO. They range from those who work within international economic organizations to academics.

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  • Lee, Yong-Shik. Safeguard Measures in World Trade: The Legal Analysis. 2d ed. The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 2007.

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    The book tackles the controversial area of safeguard measures within the WTO. It gives a comprehensive overview of the justification for safeguard measures as well as of the various panel and Appellate Body reports that have emerged. It also covers the interaction between safeguard measures and other aspects of the WTO agreements.

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  • Lee, Yong-Shik. Economic Development through World Trade: A Developing World Perspective. Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands: Kluwer Law International, 2008.

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    This book explores the impact of increased involvement in world trade by “developing countries,” as designated by the United Nations, particularly as developing countries now constitute two-thirds of the WTO’s membership. It particularly explores the possible impact of the Doha Development Round of negotiations. It is useful for researchers seeking to understand the impact of the organization on developing states.

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  • Orden, David, David Blandford, and Tim Josling, eds. WTO Disciplines on Agricultural Support: Seeking a Fair Basis for Trade. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511794179Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This edited collection seeks to bring together a wide array of perspectives on agricultural support within the WTO. It does so by contrasting the perspectives of both “developed” and “developing states,” as designated by the United Nations, and examining the Doha Development Round of negotiations. This book offers researchers insight into many approaches to agricultural support among the member states of the WTO.

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  • Wolfrum, Rüdiger, Peter-Tobias Stoll, and Anja Seibert-Fohr, eds. WTO: Technical Barriers and SPS Measures. Leiden, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff, 2007.

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    This edited collection deals with the increasing use of technical agreements as causing barriers to trade. It deals with individual articles of the agreements and as such gives an in-depth understanding of the operation of these technical aspects of trade law.

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Regional Trade Agreements

There are two perspectives involved in research on regional trade agreements. The first involves a focus on subjects within the World Trade Organization (WTO) and examines the organization’s regulation of regional trade agreements (Estevadeordal, et al. 2009; Bartels and Ortino 2006; Mathis 2002; Baldwin and Low 2009). The second perspective involves the regional trade agreements themselves and their interactions with each other and the WTO (Craig and de Búrca 2011, Johnson 1994, Lester and Mercurio 2009, Weiler 2001). The books in this section cover both of these aspects. Most of the books written about the WTO are edited collections that recognize expertise on different trade regimes.

  • Baldwin, Richard E., and Patrick Low, eds. Multilateralizing Regionalism: Challenges for the Global Trading System. Papers presented at a WTO conference held on 10–12 September 2007 in Geneva. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139162111Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A useful commentary that compares various approaches to regional trade agreements. It contains both historical overviews and some of the more contemporary debates on the causes of the proliferation of such agreements. This is a useful book for those interested in regional agreements and how they function in the global trade regime.

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  • Bartels, Lorand, and Federico Ortino, eds. Regional Trade Agreements and the WTO Legal System. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199206995.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This edited collection deals with the general issues that have arisen in relation to a number of regional trade agreements and their interaction with the WTO and focuses specifically on the effects of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) or TRIPS-Plus and dispute settlement. This rather diverse collection is useful for those conducting research on regional trade agreements within the trade system and their effect on its development as well as on the specific issues related to TRIPS and dispute settlement.

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  • Craig, Paul P., and Gráinne de Búrca. EU Law: Text, Cases, and Materials. 5th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

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    This textbook offers a comprehensive overview of the workings of the European Union (EU). While it does not deal in great depth with the external relations of the most integrated regional trade regime, it does provide an in-depth overview of its workings. Its main purpose is as a text, but it offers researchers not familiar with the EU a comprehensive guide to its workings.

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  • Estevadeordal, Antoni, Kati Suominen, and Robert Teh, eds. Regional Rules in the Global Trading System. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

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    This book attempts to tackle the issues that have been arisen as a result of the proliferation of regional trade agreements, the impact they have had on the WTO, and the attempts to analyze the relationship among them. Taking a thematic approach, it offers a useful analysis of some the problems with the interactions of this system. This is a useful resource for those researching regional trade agreements and their role in the global trade system.

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  • Johnson, Jon Ragnar. The North American Free Trade Agreement: A Comprehensive Guide. Aurora, ON: Canada Law Book, 1994.

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    This book offers a very detailed overview of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), offering a detailed analysis of the text of the treaty and its implications for the three countries involved, the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

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  • Lester, Simon Nicholas, and Bryan Mercurio, eds. Bilateral and Regional Trade Agreements. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

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    This book offers a number of case studies to discuss issues related to bilateral and regional trade agreements. It focuses on Australia, Central America, Chile, Japan, and the Association of Southeastern Nations (ASEAN), among others, to illustrate the growing complexity among these agreements. The book is aimed at those doing in-depth research on the role that regional trade agreements are playing in global trade.

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  • Mathis, James H.. Regional Trade Agreements in the GATT-WTO: Article XXIV and the Internal Trade Requirement. The Hague: Asser, 2002.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-90-6704-573-5Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book examines the proliferation of trade agreements since the establishment of the WTO and attempts to understand whether it is a threat to the organization and the implications for its future. This is a worthwhile volume for those researching regional trade agreements and specifically for those looking at the workings of Article 24 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

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  • Weiler, Joseph H. H., ed. The EU, the WTO, and the NAFTA: Towards a Common Law of International Trade. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

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    This book covers the overlapping trade regimes of the WTO, the European Union, and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It includes a number of prominent authors in the field and establishes some of the questions related to the interaction of the various trade systems. It is primarily aimed at an academic audience or those working in the field. It aims to set out the core issues with these overlapping regimes and does so with some success.

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Websites

A number of useful websites and pages are maintained by individual state and regional trade areas that give details of current developments in regional trade and provide documentation. These are also an important guide to the ever-expanding number of regional trade agreements. European Commission Trade provides probably the most extensive information on the subject. The Office of the United States Trade Representative website is a very useful guide to US policy in trade relations and treaties. NAFTA Secretariat, Mercosur, Customs Union between Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, and References & Other Documents on ASEAN Free Trade Area are websites and pages with varying utility.

Other Areas of Research

The collection of materials in this section contains other resources that are worth examining to understand the complexity of trade law. It contains books on several topics, such as the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (see Data Sources: Online; Taylor and Smith 2007), developing countries (Crump and Maswood 2007, Karapinar and Häberli 2010), the environment (Brown Weiss, et al. 2008), human rights (Joseph 2011, Unger 2007, Harrison 2007), and the Doha Development Round (Lee and Wilkinson 2007). These provide a wider resource for understanding the broader implications of the operation of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

  • Brown Weiss, Edith, John H. Jackson, and Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder, eds. Reconciling Environment and Trade. 2d ed. Leiden, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff, 2008.

    DOI: 10.1163/ej.9781571053701.i-716Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This edited collection focuses on a number of case studies to demonstrate the relationship between trade regulation and the environment. This is a useful resource for those wishing to understand how the dispute-settlement mechanism has tackled environmental questions from a number of perspectives.

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  • Crump, Larry, and Syed Javed Maswood, eds. Developing Countries and Global Trade Negotiations. New York: Routledge, 2007.

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    This edited collection brings together a selection of topics dealing with developing countries in trade law. It covers such topics as the Doha Development Round of negotiations services, agriculture, and the process of negotiation in the WTO. It is a useful resource for understanding the issues that face the membership of the organization, particularly as its reform is more complicated and protracted than what may have originally been envisaged.

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  • Harrison, James. The Human Rights Impact of the World Trade Organisation. Oxford: Hart, 2007.

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    This book looks at the impact that world trade law has on human rights. It examines the ways trade law impacts the protection of human rights, particularly in disputes between two countries. It also looks at the methods by which human rights are used within trade law and is a good guide to understanding the intricacies of the relationship between the two.

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  • Joseph, Sarah. Blame It on the WTO? A Human Rights Critique. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199565894.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This book examines the workings of the WTO and considers the human rights impact that the organization and its constituent treaties have had. This book tackles one of the core criticisms about the organization and is useful for those who wish to learn some of the counterarguments regarding the organization, which are at times ignored by the general texts.

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  • Karapinar, Baris, and Christian Häberli, eds. Food Crises and the WTO: World Trade Forum. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511712005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This edited collection explores the relationship between the food crises and the policy and legal structures of the WTO. It tackles specific issues from an African perspective, such as food security, globalization, poverty, and the role of regional bodies, such as the European Union. This is a useful volume for those wishing to research this difficult policy area.

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  • Lee, Donna, and Rorden Wilkinson, eds. The WTO after Hong Kong: Progress in and Prospects for the Doha Development Agenda. New York: Routledge, 2007.

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    The Doha Development Round has been a protracted negotiation process that has run into several obstacles and suspensions during the process of the round. This edited collection aims to discuss several of these issues and key points of disagreement, including the role of the global South, intellectual property, and the global trade of services, among several other important areas.

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  • Taylor, Ian, and Karen Smith. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. New York: Routledge, 2007.

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    This book provides an overview of the workings of UNCTAD. It focuses on its historical development and the areas in which it has been most successful and also considers how UNCTAD and the WTO work together. It will be of particular use to those researching how developing countries are affected by trade law and the interaction of the various trade bodies with each other on the global stage.

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  • Unger, Roberto Mangabeira. Free Trade Reimagined: The World Division of Labor and the Method of Economics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007.

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    This book is a good critical guide to the global trade system. It focuses on the basics of trade law, such as comparative advantage, and questions the basis of many of the assumptions regarding how the global trade system works. This is a good guide for researching a variety of trade law issues, as it offers an alternative perspective on how the system works.

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