Research Guide for Prof. Zamora's International Trade Class
International Trade Law Sources on the Internet
To a large extent, intergovernmental negotiations make global trade a reality. As a result, legal documents from international and regional trade organizations are essential for international trade law research.
Unfortunately, there is not a codified publications system or central database developed for international law researchers. For those who are accustomed to researching on Westlaw or Lexis, international law research could be time-consuming, sometimes even frustrating.
Thanks to the internet, most organizations devoted to liberalizing international trade make a great number of legislation available on the web. Internet resources have thus become an important source, if not the only one, to retrieve updated information on international trade law. For general search strategy, please click on this Powerpoint file.
This guide provides links to major international and regional trade organizations with brief annotations.Some primary legal documents on trade law are linked with full text. There are 6 sections in this guide:
- The United States and International Trade
Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (2003) basic edition
- International Organizations
- World Trade Organization (WTO) |Report on Doha | G8 | Hague Conference on International Private Law | International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) | Juries International | UN Commissions on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) | International Labor Organization (ILO) | International Organization for Standardization (ISO) | UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) | World Customs Organization (WCO) | Trade and Development Center | Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) | International Monetary Fund (IMF) | World Bank
- Dispute Settlement
- Regional Trade Organizations
- Trade Statistics
- News Sources on International Trade
U.S. and International Trade
Texas and International Trade
Texas Economic Department
- Office of International Business helps Texas companies expand into foreign markets.
- State of Texas Mexico Office The goal of this office is to promote trade, investment and tourism ties between Texas and Mexico markets.
- Office of Border Initiatives offers solutions to Texas companies regarding cross-border trade and development between Texas and Mexico.
Northwest Texas International Trade Center (NWT-ITC) The NWT-ITC is a state supported agency, hosted by Texas Tech University. It promotes international trade opportunities for Texas companies.
U.S. Government and International Trade
U.S. Trade Representative (USTR)
The USTR was created by Congress in the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. It was authorized to set and administer overall trade policy. As a chief trade negotiator, USTR represents the United States in the major international trade organizations.
- Recent Postings and Press Releases are good sources to follow the recent development of USTR activities. For example, the Ambassador's latest testimony is available from this site: 2 October 02-93 -- Zoellick Tells Congress It's Crucial We Move Forward on FTAA
- Agreements Negotiated by the United States Trade Representative an important source for research on U.S. laws concerning foreign trade.
U.S. International Trade Administration (ITA)
As a lead unit for trade in the Department of Commerce, the ITA promotes U.S. exports of manufactured goods, nonagricultural commodities and services. ITA provides U.S. business with information on market access to the international market and protects U.S. business from dumped and subsidized imports.
IA enforces laws and agreements to prevent unfairly traded imports and to protect jobs and the competitive strength of American industry. Here is the overview of the IA.
The latest investigations of alleged foreign trade are available in phf files from "Newest Items" in right hand column.
Programs and services provided by the IA are in the left-hand column. Document library is a good source for finding document regarding import including antidumping and
Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated 2002.
Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (2003) basic edition
- U.S. Market Access and Compliance
includes active, binding agreements between the United States and its trading partners covering manufactured products and services (excluding agriculture agreements). An excellent source for searching treaties and agreements!
U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC)
The ITC was established by Congress in 1916 as the U.S. Tariff Commission. The Trade Act of 1974 renamed it as the U.S. International Trade Commission. It has broad investigative powers on trade issues and serves as a national resource where trade data is gathered and analyzed. The ITC provides both the President and Congress with trade information on which U.S. trade policy is based.
- News Releases
- USITC Rules of Practice and Procedure pdf
- Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Orders
- USITC Electronic Document Imaging System provides Internet access to public documents filed with the Secretary's Office in USITC investigations.
- USITC opinion The USITC determines whether the alleged dumped or subsidized imports materially injure or threaten the U.S. industry.
- Statutes involving the USITC
- International Economic Review IER The IER keeps track of significant developments in international economics and trade. It provides technical information and advice on international trade matters to policy makers.
U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT)
CIT was established in 1980 as the successor to the Court of Customs. It provides judicial review of any final determinations by the ITA and ITC. (Folsom, International Trade and Investment in a nutshell 2ed. West Group 2000 p.147.)For more explanation of the ITC and its publications please see LLRX Research Guide on CIT.
U.S. Export/Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) was created in 1934 to aid in financing and to facilitate U.S. exports.
U.S. Treaty in Force from U.S. Department of State site, provides a list of treaties and other international agreements of the United States in Force as of January 1, 2000. Agreements on trade issues are available.
Legislative histories of the acts on international trade passed by the Congress are important sources for research. The following two sites provide comprehensive materials on legislative history.
- Congressional Information Service (CIS) (password required if outside of UH facility)
- Thomas: Legislative Information on the Internet
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International Trade Organizations
World Trade Organization (WTO)
WTO official site is a comprehensive source for doing international trade law research. However, since this site contains a huge amount of documents and the navigation is very complicated, sufficiently surfing this site may not be as easy as flipping a real book. So for new viewers, it is recommended to read How to find your way around www.wto.org first.
For experienced viewers, a good starting point is A-Z list or site map which is much easier to navigate than its graphic version. In general, there are three sections in this site:
- To understand the structure of the the organization, who's who and the mechanism of how the WTO works, see What is the WTO?
- To locate documents on trade issues, see Trade Topics which includes rules and regulations on trade in goods, services, intellectual property and trade dispute settlement and other issues such as investment, e-commerce.
- To search for economic data of world trade, WTO publications, documents, legal texts, see Recourses.
Report on Doha Round of Multilateral Negotiations
Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP produces a periodic report on the status of Doha Round of negotiations. This is the latest update of the report. Courtesy of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP.
Selected links (Prof. Zamora's Class) on Trade in Goods and Services from WTO site:
- Trade in Goods:
- Trade in Service:
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G8 Information Center
Hague Conference on Private International Law The Hague Conference is an intergovernmental organization, its purpose is "to work for the progressive unification of the rules of private international law." As of October 2002, there are 62 Member States (including the U.S.) participating in the Hague Conference.
- The Hague Conventions on Private International Law Full text
- Full status reports of the Conventions tell how the Hague Conventions are treated in its member countries.
- The Hague Conventions: Signature, Ratifications and Accessions in the Member States of NAFTA
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) . ICC is a world business organization founded in 1919. It promotes international trade and investment and market economy. ICC lays out rules governing cross border trade. The rules are observed by international businesses on a voluntary basis. The ICC international Court of Arbitration is a leading organization for international trade dispute settlement.
- ICC Member companies
- ICC Institute of World Business Law Conference Reports
- Introduction to the ICC international Court of Arbitration
Juries International A database on international trade law aimed at lawyers and legal counsel in developing and transition economies.
- International Legal Documents "offers the full text, often with descriptive summary, of various conventions, model laws, as well as standards and customs of international trade."
- Contracts: Models and Drafting provides " a collection of sample model contracts and users' guides selected in light of their practical interest for international commercial transactions. "
- Dispute Resolution Center "offers information on arbitration, mediation, conciliation and expertise centers, by continent and country, including the full text of their rules and model clauses."
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UN Commissions on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) is the core legal body within the United Nations system. It promotes the progressive harmonization and unification of international trade law.
- Introduction to the UNCITRAL
- UNCITRAL (Full Text) and its status in member countries Last updated on 15 August 2002.
- Texts resulting from the work of UNCITRAL
- UNCITRAL Case Law
International Labor Organization (ILO) Labor standards are hot issues that are often raised in international trade disputes. The ILO is the UN specialized agency that promotes social justice and internationally recognized human and lab our rights. It was founded in 1919.
- ILO Constitution
- FAQ on International Labor Standards
- ILO Reports
- ILO Legislative Information
- International Program on Elimination of Child Labor
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) The source of ISO 9000 and more than 13 000 International Standards for business, government and society. Site Map
LLRX WTO Research
UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Established in 1964 as a permanent intergovernmental body, UNCTAD is the principal organ of the United Nations General Assembly dealing with trade, investment and development issues.
- UNCTAD Publications
- Trade and Development Report 2002-Developing Countries in World Trade (full text) provides a nice overview of economic situations of developing countries.
- The World Investment Report 2002-TNCs and Export Competitiveness (full text)
- The Least Developed Countries 2002 Report-Escaping the Poverty Trap (full text)
- List of UNCTAD Press Releases and Notes to Correspondents issued during 2002
- Multilateral Approach in Trade Negotiations Must be Maintained
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World Customs Organization (WCO)
WCO is an independent intergovernmental body promoting the harmonization of international customs systems. When it was established in 1952 in Brussels, the name was the Customs Cooperation's Council (CCC). The organization adopted its current working name as WCO in 1994.
- Customs Topics includes harmonized system, valuation, origin, cross border crime, facilitation and customs procedures, customs moderation and integrity, information technology.
- Customs Web sites a comprehensive source for searching customs in different countries.
Trade and Development Center
As a joint initiative of the WTO and World Bank, this site provides "information on trade as it relates to social and economic development." It is a good source for officials in developing countries or former planned economies to get information on WTO and World Bank training.
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
The OECD was established on 14 December 1960. It was developed from the European Economic Co-operation (OEEC), which was formed in 1948 to administer aid under the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. One of the objectives of the OECD was to foster international economic co-operation and trade liberalization.
- Overview of the OECD
- OECD Convention
- OECD, Trade
- Member Countries
- U.S. Representative to the OECD
- OECD, Documentation - United States
- Trade Competition
International Monetary Fund The idea of establishing IMF was conceived in 1944 at a United Nations Conference which was held in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. It came to official existence in 1945. Now the IMF has 184 member countries. The objective of the IMF is to promote international monetary cooperation and to foster economic growth and high levels of employment.
- IMF at a Glance
- IMF Members' Quotas and Voting Power IMF member countries don't have equal footing when it comes to a decision making process. This site provides a list of member countries and relative weights that individual members carry in voting.
- Country Information a good source for an economic assessment of IMF member countries.
World Bank Founded in 1944, the World Bank Group is one of the world's largest sources of development assistance. The Bank provided US$19.5 billion in loans to its client countries in fiscal year 2002, is now working in more than 100 developing economies.
Adopted panel reports within the framework of GATT 1947
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Global Trade: Dispute Settlement
WTO: Dispute settlement
WTO dispute settlement, from EU perspective
World Bank: International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) was created in 1966 to facilitate the settlement of investment disputes between governments and foreign investors.
Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) PCA was founded in The Hague in 1899 during the first Hague Peace Conference. The 1899 Convention, which provided the legal basis for the PCA, was revised at the second Hague Peace Conference in 1907. There are currently 97 States which are parties to one or both of the Conventions. For more information on PCA, see History.
- Basic Documents
- Recent Pending Cases
- Environmental Dispute Solution
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Regional Trade-North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
General Information about the NAFTA
A brief history of the NAFTA
A subpage of U.S. Customs Service site.
NAFTA Works for America
A report on NAFTA prepared by the Office of U.S. Trade Representative.
Overview of the NAFTA
From Canadian Foreign Affairs and International Trade Web site.
- North American Free Trade Agreement (Full Text)
- NAFTA: Commission for Labor Cooperation
- NAFTA: Commission for Environmental Cooperation
- NAFTA: Border Environment Cooperation Commission
- NAFTA: Dispute settlement
Related Sites on NAFTA:
- U.S. Customs-NAFTA
- Aduana Mexico-NAFTA (Spanish)
- Canada Customs-NAFTA
- North American Consortium on Legal Education (NACLE)
West Hemispheric Trade Information Center
Hosted by Texas A&M University.
- Trade Databases
The databases contain trade and commerce information about NAFTA, Central and South America.
Foreign Trade Information System (SICE for short from its Spanish acronym) It is a valuable source for searching trade policies form central and south American countries. It including policies on Anti-Dumping, Competition Policy, Dispute Settlement, Electronic Commerce, Intellectual Property Rights, Investment and Services. Most of the texts are in Spanish.
- SICE Site Free Trade Agreements
Provides trade agreements (full text) between Central and South America Countries as well as with the U.S. , Canada and the European Union.
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European Union (EU) The European integration process was launched in 1950's.
European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
- Overview of the EU
- A Brief History of the EU
- Member Countries
- Major Institutions
- Delegation of the European Commission to the U.S.
- EU: Bilateral trade relations
Currently the EU has bilateral trade relations with 119 countries, among which following countries are selected in this research guide.
- EU-Mexico FTA
The EFTA was established in 1960 based on a Convention signed in Stockholm. Now the Association includes 4 member states: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, with headquarters in Geneva and offices in Brussels and Luxembourg.
The main objective of the EFTA is to provide a framework for the liberalization of trade in all forms among its member countries. The EFTA countries also maintain close trade relations with EU countries. Here is the update EFTA convention (pdf).
Central Europe Free Trade Area (CEFTA)
The CEFTA was based on the Central European Free Trade Agreement, which was signed on 21 December 1992 in Krakow, Poland. The CEFTA consists of 8 central European countries: Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria. As a preparation for full EU membership, the major objective of the CEFTA is to remove trade barriers and promote fair trade among member states. All the 8 CEFTA states will hopefully join the EU in 2004.
The APEC was established in 1989 with a goal of advancing Asia-Pacific economic corporations and trade. The U.S. is a member of the APEC.
- Member list
- Economic Indicators for APEC Member Economies Provides a quick look of the APEC's member countries' basic economic and trade data.
- APEC U.S.
- Australia Apec Studied
A regional organization to promote economic growth, social progress, culture development and regional peace. For a brief history of the ASEAN, member states and its objectives, please see ASEAN Overview.
Asia-Europe Summit (ASEM)
The ASEM was launched on 1 March 1996. The ASEM provides a forum for a dialogue to promote political, economic and cultural corporations between East and Southeast Asian countries and European Union member countries. Currently there are 26 partners in the ASEM.
The OPEC is an international Organization of countries which rely heavily on oil revenue. It was created at the Baghdad Conference in 1960, by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Currently the OPEC has 11 members--Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. The 11 Members of the OPEC collectively supply about 40 % of the world's oil output, and possess more than three-quarters of the world's total proven crude oil reserves.Here are FAQ about the OPEC and the OPEC statute.
Economic Community of West African States ECWAS
This site is a little slow to load. The ECOWAS is a regional group of fifteen countries, founded in 1975. Its mission is to promote economic integration in all fields of economic activity.
Regional Trade-Central and South America
Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)
The objective of FTAA is to integrate the economies of the Western Hemisphere into a single free trade arrangement. It will progressively eliminate barriers to trade and investment among its member countries. The FTAA agreement was signed in 1994 in Miami, Florida. This site is one the most valuable sources for searching economic and trade information about south and central countries.
The OAS was established in 1948. According to the Charter of the OAS, the objective of the OAS is to achieve an order of peace and justice, to promote solidarity, to strengthen collaboration, and to defend sovereignty, their territorial integrity, and their independence.
- OAS Publications
- National Legal Instruments A gateway to information on south and central America countries' legal systems.
Statistical Universe (Lexis product, available only through University of Houston workstations)
A great source for searching various statistics. Anderson Library subscribes to it. To use this database, please click on Anderson library electronic source page.
U.S. Trade and Economic: Data and Analysis
Provided by U.S. International Trade Commission.
International Accounts Data
Maintained by U.S. Department of Commerce, includes an updated account of U.S. International Business.
Canada: Economic Analysis, Statistics
Provides statistics on trade and economy in Canada.
BNA International Law Reporter Passwords Required
Guide to International Trade Law Sources on the Internet
by Marci Hoffman, provides excellent research strategy and treaty sources.
Pace University CISG Page
A comprehensive source for CISG research, includes the code and cases.
Cornell International Law search
a comprehensive source for finding primary laws on international trade.
Bibliography of International Trade Law Journal Articles
provided by U.S. International Trade Commission.
International Law in Brief
by American Society of International Law. It is a good source to trace the development of International Law from 1998.
Research Guides on International Economic Law
Hosted by American Society of International Law.
Global Trade Negotiations
Hosted by Harvard University.
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Last updated Jul 2010 by Saskia Mehlhorn, Visiting Foreign and International Law Librarian.