International Trade

International trade law focuses on how countries trade goods and services across national borders. It is a complex and ever expanding area. There are four main levels of international trade relationships: unilateral measures (national law), bilateral relationships (Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement), plurilateral agreements, and multilateral arrangements or regional trade agreements (GATT/WTO). Each of these agreements has its own history, policies, and dispute settlement procedures. This guide focuses on the major bilateral and regional trade agreements: GATT/WTO, NAFTA, FTA, and FTAA.

If you have any questions on your research, stop by the Reference Desk and ask a Librarian, or e-mail Vincent Moyer, Int'l & Foreign Law Librarian and make an appointment to discuss your research.

General Information

To find additional materials, try searching international trade law in Encore (the library catalog).

  • Dictionary of International Trade Law - K3943.B48 (2012)
  • International Trade and Economic Relations in a Nutshell - K3943.F64 (2012)  
  • International Trade Law - KD2460.C37 (2010)
  • International Trade and Investment Law: Multilateral, Regional, and Bilateral Governance - K3943.L42 (2010)
  • The Oxford Handbook of International Trade Law - K1005.O96 (2009)
  • The Prospects of International Trade Regulation: From Fragmentation to Coherence - K3943.P76 (2011)
  • The Regulation of International Trade - K3943. T72 (2005)
  • The Law of International Trade - K3943.H68 (2002)
Besides LexisNexis and , the library has an array of databases on international trade law.
  • Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO) 
    • Most comprehensive source for theory and research in international affairs. Scholarly documents range from 1991 to present and include working papers from university research institutes, occasional papers series from NGOs, foundation-funded research projects, proceedings from conferences, books, journals, and policy briefs. 
  • Bloomberg BNA International Trade Reporter
    • This electronic version of the publication provides "current information on laws, regulations, cases, and policy developments affecting U.S. trade, international business, and major U.S. trading partners, provided in this comprehensive multi part resource."
  • Foreign Law Guide
  • HeinOnline
  • International Law in Domestic Courts (Oxford Reports on International Law)
  • ProQuest Central
  • (Oceana Law)
Other University's Research Guides:
GATT and the WTO
Introduction to GATT and the WTO
The General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) was created after World War II to foster international trade by reducing the number of tariffs and trade barriers. GATT lasted from 1947 to 1994 when the Uruguay Round negotiation concluded and created the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. WTO agreements are made through negotiations. As of August 24, 2012 there are 157 members.
Locating and Searching WTO Documents
To find WTO documents you can search on the WTO website. For example, if you want to find Appellate Body Reports on "National Treatment" you would put "National Treatment" under topic and "Report" under document type. However, you will have to go through all of the reports to just find Appellate Body Reports.

The eaisest way to find Appellate Body Reports is to go to . WorldTradeLaw has a Dispute Settlement Commentary (DSC) service which is a comprehensive legal research tool for WTO Panel and Appellate Body Reports and WTO Arbitrations. The service provides summary/analysis of new reports/arbitrations within 1-3 weeks after thier circulation, summary/analysis of all past reports/arbitrations back to the establishment of the WTO, up-to-date keyword index, and updates of Commentaries for past reports/arbitrations to reflect new developments in WTO jurisprudence, and a database of WTO dispute settlement tables and statistics.

Once on , Another way to find Appellate Body Reports is to go to TradeLawGuide. Once at the page,
  • Click on "FREE ACCESS" at the bottom of the page
  • This will bring up a search screen. Uncheck the JURISPRUDENCE box and then check the ALL AB REPORTS box to limit your search to Appellate Body Reports
  • Then simply type your search in the search box. For example, if I search "national treatment" this located 21 documents. They show up in a list at the bottom of the page.
  • You can then click the + (plus) sign before the title of the document you are interested in seeing and it will open to show all of your search terms highlighted.
  • If you click on the title of the document, it will open the full text as a PDF.
Finally, you can search for WTO documents on Westlaw.
GATT & WTO Resources


  • Guide to the Uruguay Round Agreements - K4603 1987.G85 (1999)
  • Post-Uruguay Round Tariff Regimes: Achievements and Outlook - HF1721.P68 (1999)
  • The Genesis of the GATT - K4609.5. I79 (2008)  
  • The Function and Future of the World Trade Organization: International Trade Law between GATT and WTO - K3943 .K3 (1996)
  • The Law and Politics of WTO Waivers: Stability and Flexibility in Public International Law- K3943.F45 (2012)
  • Managing Multilateral Trade Negotiations: The Role of the WTO Chairman- K4610.K36 (2011)
  • Recognition and Regulation of Safeguard Measures under GATT/WTO - K4600.R35 (2011)
  • The Evolution of the Trade Regime: Politics, Law, and Economics of the GATT and the WTO- HF1713.E96 (2006)
  • Guide to the WTO and GATT: Economics, Law and Politics - K4610.K68 (2005)
  • Legal and Economic Principles of World Trade Law: The Genesis of the GATT, the Economics of Trade Agreements, Border Instruments, and National Treatment: Report to ALI - K4610.L43 (2012)
  • Trade, Health, and the Burden of Proof in WTO Law- K4610.A94 (2012)
  • Development at the World Trade Organization - on Order
  • The Legal Texts: The Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations - K4603 1987 .A4 (1999)
  • Reshaping the World Trade System: A History of the Uruguay Round - K4603 1987 .C76 (1999)
  • An Anatomy of the World Trade Organization - K4600.A73 (1997)
  • Competition Regulation and Policy at the World Trade Organization - K3850.M378 (2010)
  • Trade Policy Flexibility and Enforcement in the World Trade Organization: A Law and Economics Analysis - K4610.S37 (2009)
  • Legal Rules of the World Trade Organization - K4610.Z46 (2008)
Internet:Research Guides:
Bloomberg Law:
Dispute Resolution in GATT/WTO
  • Dispute Settlement in the World Trade Organization: Practice and Procedure - K4602.2.P34 (2004)
  • Retaliation in the WTO Dispute Settlement System- K4610.S518 (2009)
  • Most Favoured Nation Treatment and WTO Dispute Resolution - 19 J. Contemp. Legal Issues 462 (2008)
  • Compliance Problems in WTO Dispute Settlement - 42 Cornell Int'L.J. 119 (2009)
  • GMOs and Resolution of Conflicts Under the WTO - 2009 EFFL 282 (2009)
  • The Integration of Article 25 Arbitration in WTO Dispute Settlement: The Past, Present and Future - 15 Austl. Int'L.J. 235 (2008)
  • The Differences Between the Panel Procedures of the GATT and the WTO: The Role of GATT and WTO Panels in Trade Dispute Settlement- 3 Int'L. & Mgmt. Rev. 79 (2006-2007)
  • International Trade Law and the GATT/WTO Dispute Settlement System - K4600.I57 (1997)
  • Handbook of WTO/GATT Dispute Settlement - K4602.2.H36
  • A Handbook on the WTO Dispute Settlement System - K4610.W67 (2004)
  • The WTO Dispute Settlement Procedures: A Collection of the Relevant Legal Texts - K2400.A47 2001r
Case Reporters:
  • Dispute Settlement Reports/ World Trade Organization
  • World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Decisions : Bernan's Annotated Reporter
Regional Trade Agreements

Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) are reciprocal trade agreements between two or more partners. More information can be found at the Regional Trade Agreement Database. According to WTO there are 319 agreements in force. (List of Agreements) This guide only touches on NAFTA, FTA, and FTAA.

NAFTA is the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, Mexico, and the United States. It came into effect on January 1, 1994 for the purpose of establishing a free-trade zone between the countries. NAFTA links 450 million people producing $17 trillion worth of goods and services creating the world's largest free trade area.
  • NAFTA and Free Trade in the Americas in a Nutshell - KDZ944.F653 (2012)
  • The NAFTA and Other Trade Agreements Sourcebook - KDZ944.A35 (2012)
  • North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) - KDZ944.A41992 K46 (2011)
  • Mexico in the WTO and NAFTA - KGF4066.H84 (2010)
  • Understanding the North American Free Trade Agreement: Legal and Business Consequences of NAFTA - KDZ944.A41992 G58 (2010)
  • NAFTA Tax Law and Policy: Resolving the Clash Between Economic and Sovereignty Interests - KDZ911. C63 (2005)
  • International Investment Law and Arbitration: Leading Cases from the ICSID, NAFTA, Bilateral Treaties and Customary International Law - K3830. I58 (2005)
  • Navigating NAFTA: A Concise User's Guide to the North American Free Trade Agreement - KDZ944.A41992.A87 (1994)
  • Glossary of NAFTA Terms - KDZ944.A55 F68 (1994)
  • The North American Free Trade Agreement NAFTA: Documents and Materials Including a Legislative History of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act, Public Law 103-182
  • NAFTA, law and business review of the Americas
  • International Legal Materials
    • Hard Copy (KZ64.I58)
    • Electronic Copy
      • Canada-Mexico-United States: North American Free Trade Agreement - 32 I.L.M. 289 (1993)
      • Canada-Mexico-United States: North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation - 23 I.L.M. 1480 (1993)  
      • Canada-Mexico-United States: North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation - 32 I.L.M. 1499 (1993)
Internet: Research Guides:
United States - Canda Free Trade Agreement

Negotiations started in 1985 to create the United States and Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA). However, it was not until January 1, 1989 when it was implemented. The objectives included to eliminate barriers to trade in goods and services between the two countries, facilitate conditions of fair competition within the free trade area, significantly expand liberalization of conditions for cross-border investment, establish effective procedures for the joint administration of the agreement and the resolution of disputes; and lay the foundation for further bilateral and multilateral cooperation to expand and enhance the benefits of the agreement. This agreement was superseded by NAFTA in 1994 when Mexico joined.



  • Law and Development Perspective on International Trade Law - K3943. L376 (2011)
  • Canadian - American Trade and Investment Under the Free Trade Agreement - HF1456. C76 (1990)
  • Making Free Trade Work: the Canada- US Agreement - KF6668.C32 1988 M35 (1990)
  • The Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement: Implications, Opportunities, and Challenges - KF6668.C32 A33 (1990)
  • The Free Trade Agreement: A Comprehensive Guide - KF6668.C32 J64 (1988)
  • The Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement: The Global Impact - HF1766. C28 (1988)
  • A Concise Guide to the Canada- United States Free Trade Agreement - KF6668.C32 S74 (1988)
  • International Legal Materials - KZ64. I58
    • Treaties and Agreements: Canada- United States: Free-Trade Agreement - 27 I.L.M. 293 (1988)
FTA Dispute Resolution
Free Trade Area of the Americas Agreement
The Free Trade Area of the Americas Agreement (FTAA) is a proposed agreement to eliminate or reduce the trade barriers between the Americas except Cuba. The first negotiation or the Summit of the Americas was held on December 1994 and was supposed to be completed by 2005 but no official agreement has been made.


  • International Dispute Resolution in Latin America: an Institutional Overview - KG735. L43 (2007)
  • Sustainable Development in World Trade Law - K3585. S86 (2005)


Additional Resources

To access databases in Lexis Advance , go to Browse Topics or Browse Sources. Examples are listed below.

Browse Topics:

  • International Trade Law (The topics below can be added to your search box)
    • International Commerce & Trade
    • Trade Agreements
    • US Court of International Trade
    • US International Trade Commission Proceedings
Browse Sources: (To find the source, type in the name in the left box called "Search Sources".)
  • International Trade Commission Administrative Law Judge Decisions (ITC ALJ) 
  • International Trade Commission Decisions
  • International Trade Emerging Issues only
  • U.S. Court of International Trade Briefs
  • U.S. Court of International Trade Motions
  • U.S. Court of International Trade Cases
  • US Customs and International Trade Guide, Second Edition
  • Doing Business in Canada
  • Lex Mundi's Guide to Doing Business in Mexico
  • NAFTA Panel Review Decisions
  • Journal of International Economic Law From 1/98
  • Canada - United States Law Journal
  • Asper Review of International Business and Trade Law

To access databases on Westlaw, use the Search for a Database on the right. Type the words International Trade Law, WTO, GATT, NAFTA, or Free Trade Agreement and a list of international trade databases will pop-up. Click on the databases that you would like to use. Some databases that might be helpful are listed below.

Subject Specialist
Picture: Hilary Hardcastle

Hilary Hardcastle
Head of Reference Services
Tel: 565-4792

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Vincent Moyer
Foreign, Comparative and International Law Librarian
Tel: 565-4752

Encore Catalog Search

The Hastings Encore Catalog is our search engine to find books and journals in the Hastings Law Library; articles and journals on HeinOnline, ProQuest Central, Oxford Journals Online and PubMed Central; as well as materials found in libraries around the world via Worldcat.