Status of the WTO AgreementsCitation of the WTO agreementsAdditional sources of the WTO agreements & other trade agreements
GATT and early WTO documents, 1946-1997WTO documents, 1995-present
Citing the dispute settlement reportsDocuments from dispute settlements (submissions)Finding disputes by topic, article number, etc.Selected books about dispute settlement
Citation to official U.S. sourcesGovernment websites, etc.U.S. legislative history
This is the "Drafting & negotiating history" page of the "WTO/GATT Research" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

WTO/GATT Research   Tags: foreign & international law, international law  

This guide presents the essential sources for researching the former GATT and the current system under the Uruguay Round agreements and the World Trade Organization. NOTE: Main tabs list general sources that might not be repeated in the dropdown tabs.
Last Updated: Apr 21, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Drafting & negotiating history Print Page

Bretton Woods conference transcripts discovered at the Department of the Treasury Library

The 1944 Bretton Woods conference led to the establishment of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and post World War II international financial system. The never established International Trade Organization was envisioned as the third Bretton Woods institution. The original GATT 1947 resulted from negotiations on trade rules and tariffs and the failed attempt to achieve the ITO Charter. See Understanding the WTO: Basics: The GATT Years: From Havana to Marrakesh.

Travaux préparatoires (history of negotiation)

Studying the history and interpretation of the trade agreements means studying the travaux préparatoires, the preparatory or working documents from the negotiation and drafting of the agreements.

For the pre-Uruguay Round GATT, start with the GATT Analytical Index.

Guide to GATT Law and Practice: Analytical Index.Updated 6th ed. Geneva: WTO and Bernan Press, 1995. Two vols.
Reference K4603 1947.A44 G85 1995
Also available on a CDROM co-published by WTO and Bernan Press.

    Covers only the GATT through 1994, before the Uruguay Round agreements went into force on January 1, 1995. It is arranged by GATT articles and also has a subject index that is printed in both volumes. After the text of the article and related understandings is a summary of the history of the article, with excerpts from and citations to official documents from the negotiations and citations to subsequent decisions of WTO bodies and dispute settlement reports that interpret and apply the article.

    For information on the negotiation of the Uruguay Round agreements, consult the chapter entitled "Institutions and Procedure" in the GATT Analytical Index and books and articles on the Uruguay Round negotiations and agreements. Although the WTO Analytical Index (described under theDispute Settlement tab) cites to a few Uruguay Round documents and makes reference to the earlier GATT Analytical Index, its focus is interpretation and application (dispute settlement), not the negotiating history.

    Websites may contain documents from past or current negotiating rounds. For example, the Intellectual Property page under Trade Topics on has a collection of Uruguay Round documents, has similar collections for a few other agreements, and the Negotiating History tab TradeLawGuide has a list of Uruguay Round negotiating documents, with full text of about 1700,including negotiating texts and working group documents. 

    If you need the full text of any GATT or WTO document, or if you need more documents related to your topic, use theofficial document sources.

    GATT Documents 1946-1997
    This page includes GATT official documents, 1946-97. Browse the documents by document symbol or date, or browse all the documents (open the catalogue file/list of dates and document titles and do a Ctrl-F search for keyword in title). 

    For more Uruguay Round documents:
    Stanford GATT Digital Library: 1947-1994 
    Documents Online, 1985-1997 re a particular subject area and year or use Advanced Search and type UR in the Collection field).


      Finding Travaux préparatoires: research strategy

      Travaux préparatoires are the working documents from the drafting, negotiation and adoption of a treaty or international convention, e.g., drafts, reports, letters, meeting records, etc. See also Commentaries & travaux préparatoires (drafting history) in the NYU Law Library International Law research guide.
      The following four-step research process is suggested:
      • Consult the GATT Analytical Index, covers to Jan. 1, 1995
        The GATT Analytical Index: Guide to GATT Law and Practice, covers only the GATT, not the non-trade agreements. Although its coverage extends to Jan. 1, 1995, it has very little on the Uruguay Round, 1986-94, but see the chapter "Institutions and Procedure" before the Appendix. Arranged by articles of the GATT, it summarizes the drafting history, with excerpts from and cites to documents. Also an excellent way to identify GATT dispute settlements under specific articles for the covered dates.
      • Consult other commentaries, books, articles, websites, or databases that might cite to documents from the drafting and negotiation.
        These can be identified using other tabs of this guide: Selected books, databases & websites; Books, working papers, etc.; and Law reviews, journals & articles.
      • Search generally in the GATT and/or WTO official documents for additional materials related to the history of the agreements.
      • Are there Member State materials, “legislative history”?
        For example, the U.S. legislative history of the implementation of the WTO agreements. It can be much more difficult to locate similar materials from other Member States, if they exist.

      Selected books and articles

      See also
      Books, working papers, etc. 
      Law reviews, journals, articles

      Oxford University Press series, Oxford Commentaries on International Law. Oxford Commentaries on the GATT/WTO Agreements  

      Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law series, Max Planck Commentaries on World Trade Law. For example, volume 2, WTO: Institutions and Dispute Settlement, provides an article-by-article commentary on the history, interpretation and existing case law under the WTO Agreements and the DSU.

      Agreeing and Implementing the Doha Round of the WTO. Ed. Harald Hohmann. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. B1 K4600 .A94 2008

      Fast Track: a Legal, Historical, and Political Analysis. Hal S. Shapiro. Ardsley, NY: Transnational Publishers, 2006.
      B1   KF6659 .S53 2006

      The GATT Uruguay Round: A Negotiating History (1986-1992).
       Vols. I and II Commentary; vol. III Documents; vol. IV The End Game. Deventer; Boston: Kluwer Law and Taxation Publishers, 1993-99.
      Reserve K4609.5 .G38 1993      

      Guide to the Uruguay Round Agreements. WTO Secretariat. The Hague; Boston: Kluwer Law International, 1999.
      Reference K4603 1987 .G85 1999      

      Implementing the Uruguay Round. John H. Jackson and Alan O. Sykes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. A country-by-country review of the implementation of the Uruguay Round agreements by ten of the member countries plus the European Community.
      Reserve K4603 1987 .I49 1997

      Interpreting WTO Agreements: Problems and Perspectives
      . Asif H. Qureshi. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. 
      B1 K4610 .Q87 2006      

      Legal Guide to GATS. Nellie Munin. Kluwer Law International, 2010. Global Trade Law Series; 31. B1 K3973 .M86 2010.

      Reshaping the World Trading System: A History of the Uruguay Round. 2d and rev. ed. John Croome. The Hague; Boston: Kluwer Law International, 1999.
      B1  HF1711 .C76 1999

      Treaty Interpretation by the WTO Appellate Body
      . Isabelle Van Damme. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. 
      Reserve K4610 .D36 2009 

      The New World Trade Organization Agreements: Globalizing Law Through Services and Intellectual Property. Christopher Arup. Cambridge Studies in Law and Society. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
      Reserve K3973 .A97 2000      

      Intellectual Property and International Trade: the TRIPS Agreement. Ed. Carlos M. Correa and Abdulqawi A. Yusuf. London; Boston: Kluwer Law International, 1998.
      Reserve K1401.A41994 C67 1998 

      The Making of the TRIPS Agreement: Personal Insights from the Uruguay Round Negotiations ON ORDER

      "The Legislative Process: Case Study 1: The Making of the TRIPS Agreement," chap. 4 in Lawmaking under the Trade Constitution: A Study in Legislating by the World Trade Organization. Gail E. Evans. Studies in Transnational Economic Law, vol. 14. The Hague; Boston: Kluwer Law International, 2000.
      B1  K4602.2 2000 

      The TRIPS Agreement: Drafting History and Analysis.Daniel Gervais. 2d. ed. London: Sweet & Maxwell, 2003.
      B1  K1401.A41994 G47 2003      

      Understanding the WTO Anti-Dumping Agreement: Negotiating History and Subsequent Interpretation. James P. Durling and
      Matthew R. Nicely. London: Cameron May, 2002.
      B1  K4635 .D87 2002


        Loading  Loading...