Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

International Trade Law Research Guide

This guide features resources on international trade law.

WTO Schedules & Tariff Information

What Are Schedules?

The specific commitments made by each of the WTO’s member states during the course of multilateral trade negotiations are memorialized as "schedules of concessions."  These are referred to informally as schedules.  Schedules constitute an integral part of both the 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT 1994) and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).  Note that schedules may be altered through subsequent formal negotiations or through technical modifications.

Goods schedules may include maximum tariffs on specific types of goods, as well as agreements on quotas, export subsidies, and domestic supports for particular industries.  Services schedules usually take the form of commitments to open domestic markets to services provided by firms in other member states, as well as specific exemptions from these commitments.

Goods schedules for most of the original WTO members states are annexed to the GATT 1994 via the Marrakesh Protocol.  Services schedules for most of the original WTO member states are annexed to the GATS.  For member states that joined the WTO after 1995, goods and services schedules are annexed to their protocols of accession.

If you need to review a goods or services schedule and have not done so before, be sure to consult this essential resource:

  • A Handbook on Reading WTO Goods and Services Schedules.  INTL K4610 .H36 2009
    This official WTO publication contains detailed descriptions of the different types of information contained in the goods and services schedules.
     

Online Access to Goods and Services Schedules

The WTO website provides several options for accessing goods and services schedules online, which are described below.  The main advantage of accessing the schedules online is that they are not static and include links to subsequent modifications. 

  • Goods Schedules Gateway (WTO website)
    Scroll down the main page for explanatory information about the content and organization of the goods schedules.  To access member schedules, click on the link labeled Current Situation of Schedules for WTO Members.
     
  • I-TIP Services Database (a joint database of the WTO and the World Bank)
    Use the GATS Module of this database to access to the services schedules of WTO member states.  Select the content (commitments or MFN exemptions).  Then choose the desired member state(s) and the desired sector(s) from the menu.  It is also possible to search by keyword, browse by sector, and generate a comparison report across sectors for commitments made under GATS and commitments made under regional trade agreements (RTAs).
     
  • WTO Member Pages (WTO website)
    Goods and services schedules also can be accessed via the Member Pages on the WTO website.  From the main page, scroll through the alphabetical list of member states and click on the name of the desired country.  On the following page, scroll down and click on the links under the headings "Goods Schedules and Tariff Data" and "Services Schedules and MFN Exemptions."

 

Goods and Services Schedules in Print

Goods and services schedules for most of the WTO's founding members are included in the following print set:

  • Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations: Legal Instruments Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations Done at Marrakesh on 15 April 1994.  INTL KZ5185 1987 .A4 G46 1994
    This 34-volume set includes the Uruguay Round agreements and the related goods and services schedules for most of the founding members of the WTO.  Bear in mind that this set is static and does not include any subsequent modifications to the goods and services schedules.  Nor does it include the goods and services schedules for members that joined the WTO after its inception.

Goods and services schedules for members that joined the WTO after 1995 are annexed to each member's protocol of accession.  Protocols of accession and their related goods and services schedules may be accessed online via the Protocols of Accession Table and the Member Pages on the WTO's website. 

The Georgetown Law Library has print copies of the protocols of accession, and the accompanying goods and services schedules, for the following jurisdictions:

Bear in mind that goods and services schedules in print are static and do not reflect any subsequent modifications.
 

Tariff Information

Tariffs are customs duties imposed on imported goods.  Tariffs provide a competitive advantage for domestically produced goods as well as a source of revenue for national governments.  Reducing tariff barriers to international trade has been, and continues to be, a key objective of the WTO and its predecessor, the GATT.  Reliable sources of tariff-related information are listed below:

  • World Customs Organization (WCO)
    The WCO compiles the Harmonized System for the classification of goods.  It consists of approximately 5,000 commodity groups, each of which is identified by a six-digit code.  More than 200 jurisdictions worldwide use the Harmonized System of classification as the basis for collecting tariffs and computing merchandise trade statistics.  The WCO's website provides access to:
  • WTO Trade Topics:  Tariffs
    This gateway page provides background information about tariffs and the WTO's mandate to reduce them, tariff-related news, and links to access tariff-related data and information for WTO member states.
     
  • WTO Tariff Data
    This gateway page provides access to the following tariff research tools:
     
    • Tariff Download Facility
      Access data on applied, bound, and preferential tariffs for all WTO members.  Products may be selected at up to six levels of disaggregation under the Harmonized System of classification.  A User Guide is available for download in PDF format.
       
    • Tariff Analysis Online
      This advanced research tool combines content from two WTO databases and allows you to generate product-specific and market-specific reports at the tariff line level under the Harmonized System of classification.  Note:  Individual users must register with the WTO to access this combined database.  A User Guide is available for download in PDF format.
       
  • World Tariff Profiles
    This annual publication is prepared jointly by the WTO, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Trade Centre (ITC).  It provides a breakdown of tariffs imposed by 170 jurisdictions, with the data presented in summary tables.  Information about non-tariff barriers is also provided.  Current and past editions are available for download in PDF format from the WTO website.

For further information about tariffs and customs law, consult the following Georgetown Law Library research guides:  Customs Law Research and Customs Law (U.S.) Research.