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In 1995 the WTO replaced the GATT administrative structure as the international body responsible for overseeing the rules of trade between states. This change marked the completion of the latest round in multilateral trade negotiations as well as the expansion of the regimes focus to cover trade in services and intellectual property in addition to the traditional concern with trade in goods. The following is a list of quick links to those material contained on the WTO site that are likely to be of relevance to those interested in researching the regulation of international trade.
Note: if you are having problems downloading dispute settlement reports from this site, an alternative source of these reports is the Foreign Trade Information System site maintained by the Trade Unit of the Organization of American States (SICE) See also the NAFTALAW site maintained by Professor Todd Weiler .
The OECD groups 29 member countries in an organization that, provides governments a setting in which to discuss, develop and perfect economic and social policy. They compare experiences, seek answers to common problems and work to co-ordinate domestic and international policies.
Convening for the first time in 1893, the Hague Conference on Private International Law has continued, in conjunction with the governments of its member states, to work towards the progressive unification of the rules of private international law. To this end the Hague Conference has actively negotiated multilateral treaties and conventions in the various fields of private international law. This site contains the full text of all conventions, information on the status of the conventions and ordering information for the proceedings of the conferences. In addition the site also provides separate bibliographies for many of the individual conventions.
The NAFTA Secretariat administers the NAFTA dispute resolution processes under Chapters 14, 19 and 20 of the NAFTA and has certain responsibilities related to Chapter 11 dispute settlement provisions. Each national Section maintains a court-like registry relating to panel, committee and tribunal proceedings. The site provides full text copies of all binational panel decisions and arbitral panel reports issued under NAFTA and the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement(FTA). An alternative source for the text of the dispute documents is the Foreign Trade Information System (SICE database) maintained by the Organization of American States.
Begun in 1989 as an informal dialogue group, APEC has since established itself as a regional vehicle for promoting trade and practical economic cooperation.
Although not primarily a regional trade organization, the Trade Unit of the OAS maintains a comprehensive collection of trade and investment resources on its Foreign Trade Information System (SICE) website. The site contains summaries of the provisions of major regional and global trade treaties. The site also includes the full text of trade agreements and investment treaties, as well as well as a collection of all available dispute settlement documents from NAFTA, GATT/WTO, and the Andean Community (the latter available only in Spanish). On the issue of free trade and the Inter-American system, SICE has collected information and documentation related to the progress of talks on the Free Trade Area of the Americas. The site is searchable and includes an index and glossary. Text is in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French.
The Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) dates back to 1983 and currently has 15 member states of various status. CaricomLaw includes full-text laws of member states, agreements and more. MERCOSUR . Established in 1991 under the terms of the Treaty of Asuncion, the Southern Common Market is comprised of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Contents of site are in Spanish. English copies of most of the basic texts can be found on the site of the Trade Unit of the OAS .
A South American organization having its origins in a customs union that was established in 1969, the Andean Community is comprised of Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. Institutional reforms of the mid 1990's envision the development of a common market structured on the model of the EU. Most of the information on this site is in Spanish although there is some information in English, including decisions of the Commission of the Andean Community (the main legislative body) and a limited number of the more important treaties and protocols.
Dating from 1960, the EFTA currently has 4 members: Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland. Canada is currently engaged in negotiations to enter into a free trade agreement with the EFTA countries.
General Trade Related Sites
The staff of the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) law library maintains a downloadable bibliography of trade-related law journal articles. Downloads in WordPerfect 5 format.
This chapter provides a survey of the law and economics literature on international trade topics. It contains a nice bibliography of print sources and the Encyclopedia provides links to related web sites.