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 (WTO). 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 subject heading (keywords) World Trade Organization is 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.
Karttunen, M.B., Transparency in the WTO SPS and TBT Agreements: the Real Jewel in the WTO's Crown, 2020
Van den Bossche, P.L.H. and Zdouc, W., The Law and Policy of the World Trade Organization: Text, Cases, and Materials, 5th edition, 2022
Sources of international law
- General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (1994)
- General Agreement on Trade in Services (1994)
- Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (1994)
- Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (1994)
- Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (1994)
- Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (1994)
- Lester, S. and B. Mercurio, World Trade Law: Text, Materials and Commentary, Third edition, Oxford, Hart, 2018.
- Van den Bossche, P.L.H. and Zdouc, W., The Law and Policy of the World Trade Organization: Text, Cases, and Materials, Fifth edition, Cambridge, United Kingdom, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2022.
- World Trade Organization, The WTO agreements: the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization and its Annexes, Cambridge, United Kingdom, Cambridge University Press, 2017.
- A Handbook on the WTO Dispute Settlement System / World Trade Organization, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017.
- Cook, G., A Digest of WTO Jurisprudence on Public International Law Concepts and Principles, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2015.
- Bethlehem, D., (et al.) (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of International Trade Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2009.
- Carr, I., S. Alem and MD J. Hossain Bhuiyan (eds.), International Trade Law and the WTO, Sydney, The Federation Press, 2013.
- Koul, A.K., Guide to the WTO and GATT: Economics, Law and Politics, Singapore, Springer, 2018.
- Mavroidis, P.C., The Regulation of International Trade, 2 Volumes, Cambridge, MIT Press, 2016.
- Mavroidis, P.C., The WTO Dispute Settlement System: How, Why and Where?, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2022.
- Shaffer, G., Emerging Powers and the World Trading System: the Past and Future of International Economic Law, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2021.
- Stoll, P.-T. and Hestermeyer, H.P. (gen eds.), Commentaries on World Trade Law Online (4-6 Volumes), Brill, 2022-2023.
- Taubman, A. H. Wager and J. Watal (eds), A Handbook on the WTO TRIPS Agreement, Second Edition, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2020.
- Tietje, C. und Nowrot, K. (eds.), Internationales Wirtschaftsrecht, 3., neu bearbeitete Auflage, Berlin, De Gruyter, 2022.
- VanGrasstek, C., The History and Future of the World Trade Organization, Geneva, World Trade Organization, 2013.
- World Trade Organization, WTO Analytical Index: Guide to WTO Law and Practice, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2007, 2 vols.
Selected books and articles
- Baldwin, R., Kawai, M. and Wignaraja, G. (eds.), A World Trade Organization for the 21st Century: the Asian Perspective, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2014.
- Benitah, M., The WTO Law of Subsidies: a Comprehensive Approach, Alphen aan den Rijn, Kluwer Law International, 2019.
- Bhala, R. (ed.), Modern GATT Law: A Treatise on the Law and Political Economy of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and other World Trade Organisation Agreements, London, Sweet & Maxwell, 2013.
- Cox, K.I., "Vetoing WTO Appellate Body Judges' Reappointments: Analyzing the United States' Actions through Neo-Realist Lenses", Houston Journal of International Law, 42 ((2019), No. 1, pp. 1-37.
- Creamer, C.D. and Godzimirska, Z., "(De)Legitimation at the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism", Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, 49 (2016), No. 2, pp. 275-321.
- Das, A. and Nedumpara, J.J. (eds.), WTO Dispute Settlement at Twenty: Insiders' Reflections on India's Participation, New Delhi, Centre for WTO Studies, 2016. [e-book]
- De Baere, Ph., Parc, C. du, and Van Damme, I., The WTO anti-dumping Agreement: a detailed Commentary, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2021.
- Elsig, M., Hoekman, B. and Pauwelyn, J. (eds.), Assessing the World Trade Organization: fit for purpose?: World Trade Forum, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2017.
- Gáspár-Szilágyi, S., Behn, D. and Langford, M. (eds.), Adjudicating Trade and Investment Disputes: Convergence or Divergence?, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2020. [e-book]
- Grey, F.A., States and Non-Participatory Memberships in the WTO, Cham, Palgrave Macmillan US, 2019.
- Howse, R., and Langille, J., "Continuity and Change in the World Trade Organization: Pluralism Past, Present, and Future", 117 (2023) American Journal of International Law, No. 1, pp. 1-47. [online article]
- Ivanova, E., The competing jurisdictions of the WTO and the UNCLOS dispute settlement fora in the context of multifaceted disputes,Studies of the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for International, European and Regulatory Procedural Law, Baden-Baden, Nomos, 2021.
- Juszczyk, G., "Legitimacy Crisis at the World Trade Organisation Appellate Body: Other Ways than the MPIA?" 12 (2022) European Yearbook of International Economic Law, pp. 87-120.
- Karttunen, M.B., Transparency in the WTO SPS and TBT Agreements: the Real Jewel in the WTO's Crown, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2020. [e-book]
- Kieffer, B., Marquet, C., L'organisation mondiale du commerce et l'évolution du droit international public. Regards croisés sur le droit et la gouvernance dans le contexte de la mondialisation, Bruxelles, Bruylant, 2020.
- Kurtz,J., The WTO and International Investment Law: Converging Systems, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2016. [e-book]
- Lo, C.-f., Nakagawa, J. and Chen, T.-f. (eds.), The Appellate Body of the WTO and its Reform, Singapore, Springer, 2020.
- Messenger, G., The Development of World Trade Organization Law: Examining Change in International Law, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2016.
- Pauwelyn, J.H.B. and Pelc, K., "WTO Rulings and the Veil of Anonymity", 33 (2022) European journal of international law, No. 2, pp. 527-563.
- Petersmann, E.-U., "WTO ADJUDICATION@me.too: Are Global Public Goods like the World Trade Organization Owned by Governments or by Peoples and Citizens?", Journal of East Asia and International Law, 13 (2020), No. 1, pp. 21-52.
- Plouffe-Malette, K., Moralité publique des droits de la personne au droit de l'OMC, Bruxelles, Bruylant, 2020.
- Suttle, O., "Rules and Values in International Adjudication: the Case of the WTO Appellate Body", International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 68 (2019), No. 2, pp. 399-441.
- Van Den Bossche, P. and Prévost, D., Essentials of WTO Law, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2016.
- Ventouratou, A., "The Law on State Responsibility and the World Trade Organization", The Journal of World Investment & Trade, 22 (2021), No. 5-6, pp. 759-803.
- Zha, L., "The Wall on Trade: Reconsidering the Boundary of Section 232 Authority under the Trade Expansion Act of 1962", Minnesota journal of international law, 29 (2020), No. 1, pp. 229-278.