Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

International Trade Law Research Guide

This guide features resources on international trade law.

WTO & GATT Official Documents

GATT Documents (1947-1994) (including Uruguay Round negotiations)

  • GATT Basic Instruments and Selected Documents (GATT BISD).  INTL KZ5185.A4 1947
    GATT BISD is the official compilation of GATT-related documentation in print.  Its coverage is selective, not comprehensive, but it does include many of the most significant agreements, protocols, memoranda, decisions, reports, and instruments from the pre-WTO (1947-1994) era.  Note that after the initial four volumes, all subsequent volumes were designated as supplements.  Thus the citation 42S/38 refers to Supplement 42 at page 38.  The subject index at the end of Supplement 42 covers the entire series.
  • GATT Digital Library 1947-1994
    This free online database, sponsored by the Stanford University Libraries, in partnership with the WTO, provides access to more than 59,000 pre-WTO public documents generated by the GATT, including documents related to the Uruguay Round negotiations.  Additional documents will be added as they are de-restricted.  Both browse and search options are available.  For tips on searching the database, consult the following pages:  Search Help; Understanding GATT Symbols; and Documents vs. Publications.
  • GATT Documents Online
    In 2006 the General Council of the WTO decided to make all official documents generated under the GATT between 1947 and 1994 publicly available.  This digital archive currently includes more than 59,000 GATT documents released to the public prior to 2006.  Additional documents are being added as they are de-restricted, scanned, and cataloged.  Documents may be browsed by date or document number.  To search the titles of documents by keyword, open the catalog files (linked on the homepage) and use Ctrl F.  For better search options, use the GATT Digital Library.
  • GATT Documents on Microfiche
    This microfiche set is located in the International Media Collection on the fourth floor of the Wolff Library.  Use the multi-volume Index and List of Documents to search by subject.  There is a separate Index for Uruguay Round documents.  If you need assistance, ask a librarian at the Wolff reference desk.  Note that this microfiche set includes only GATT documents that were released to the public prior to 2006.  For documents released to the public from 2006 onward, consult the GATT Digital Library or GATT Documents Online

WTO Documents (1995-present)

  • WTO Basic Instruments and Selected Documents (WTO BISD) INTL INTL K5185 .A4
    WTO BISD is the official compilation of WTO-related documentation in print.  Its coverage is selective, not comprehensive, but it does include many of the most significant protocols, memoranda, reports, and instruments.  Each volume in the series includes a subject index.  Note that WTO panel and Appellate Body reports are not included in the BISD.  Note also that the WTO ceased publication of the series with Volume 12 (2006).  For post-2006 documents, consult WTO Documents Online.
  • WTO Documents Online
    This free online database contains more than 100,000 official WTO documents from 1995-present and is updated daily.  All documents are available in PDF and MS Word formats, and most can be accessed in all three of the WTO’s official languages (English, French, and Spanish).  Browse by topic or search by keyword.  Consult the User Guide for search tips.  For information about WTO document symbols, consult the Guide to Documentation

    Note that access to a small number of recent documents is restricted to WTO member states and official observers.  Eventually these documents will be added to the database when their access is de-restricted.  Consult this webpage for more information about WTO document de-restriction.

Document Classification & Symbols

Like the United Nations and other international organizations, the WTO employs an internal system of classifying documents, which grew out of the system employed by its predecessor, the GATT.  This system can be confusing to those who are not familiar with it.

Citations to WTO & GATT Documents

Citations to WTO and GATT documents are governed by Rule 21.11 of The Bluebook KF245 U5 2015.  If it is unclear from the context that a citation refers to a WTO or GATT document, explain the reference in a parenthetical following the citation.

Citations to WTO and GATT dispute settlement materials, governed by Rule 21.11 (a) and (b), are covered in the Dispute Settlement section of this research guide.  Citations to the WTO's founding agreements, governed by Rule 21.11 (d), are covered in the WTO and GATT Agreements section of the guide.

Rule 21.11 (c) Reports

Cite reports from the WTO Secretariat and other bodies as you would those from the United Nations according to Rule 21.7.3:

  • Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, Note by the Secretariat: Available Information on the Existence of Patents in Regard to the Diseases Referred to in the Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, WTO Doc. IP/C/W/348 (June 11, 2002).
  • Special Session of the Council for Trade in Services, Guidelines and Procedures for the Negotiations on Trade in Services, WTO Doc. S/L/93 (Mar. 29, 2001).
  • GATT Secretariat, An Analysis of the Proposed Uruguay Round Agreement, with Particular Emphasis on Aspects of Interest to Developing Countries, GATT Doc. MTN.TNC/W/122 (Nov. 29, 1993).

Rule 21.11 (e) Ministerial Documents.

Cite ministerial documents by name of issuing body, document number, and to an unofficial source, such as International Legal Materials, if therein:

  • World Trade Organization, Ministerial Declaration of 14 November 2001, WTO Doc. WT/MIN(01)/DEC/1, 41 ILM 746 (2002) [hereinafter Doha Declaration].

Rule 21.11 (f) Other Documents.

(i) Arbitration documents. Cite ICSID arbitration documents according to Rule 21.6.

(ii) Press Releases. Cite press releases according to Rule 17.2.3

(iii) WTO website. Some documents may be found on the WTO’s website, and should be cited in accordance with Rule 18.1.