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WTO/GATT Research: Drafting & negotiating history

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.

Travaux préparatoires: research strategy

Travaux préparatoires, also referred to as "negotiating history" or "drafting history," are the preparatory works, including documents, reports, minutes, drafts, and other materials, from the drafting and the negotiation of the treaty. A state party's materials on the drafting, negotiation and domestic ratification, adoption or implementation of a treaty might also be relevant to your research. All of these are the primary sources, or raw materials, for researching the history of a treaty. See also Commentaries & travaux préparatoires (drafting history) in the NYU Law Library International Law research guide.
To look for the history of the WTO Agreements or the former GATT, the following four-step research process is suggested. If you need the full text of any GATT or WTO document, or to search for more documents related to your topic, use the official document sources.

Selected books, commentaries & websites on the history of the agreements

Bretton Woods Conference transcripts

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.