O'Quinn Law Library

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:


U.S. and International Trade

Texas and International Trade

Texas Economic Department

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.

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. 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.

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.

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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:

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:

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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.

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.

Juries International A database on international trade law aimed at lawyers and legal counsel in developing and transition economies.

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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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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Regional Trade

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.

NAFTA Secretariat

Related Sites on NAFTA:

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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Regional Trade-Europe

European Union (EU) The European integration process was launched in 1950's.

European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
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).

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Last updated Jul 2010 by Saskia Mehlhorn, Visiting Foreign and International Law Librarian.