Skip to main content

International Trade Law Research: Intro

Frequent Research Tasks

1.  Picking a Paper Topic

News and current awareness tools (see tab) are good sources to identify issues and new developments. See BNA's International Trade Reporter and International Trade Daily; the International Economic Law and Policy Blog (from; or Law 360. The books referenced in the Background and Secondary Sources tabs may be helpful as well.

2.  Finding a WTO Document by Document Symbol--e.g., WT/DS404/R

Often, the document symbol (such as WT/DS404/R) works very well in a Google search. Here that search leads to a  WTO news page (Sep. 2011) that summarizes the status of the matter at that time, and provides links that lead to the Panel Report, consisting on the report's text and several annexes in separate PDF or Word documents. Another route is to use the search page within to search by document symbol.

3.  Finding a Dispute Resolution Commentary--e.g., a July 2011 panel report on anti-dumping measures taken by the U.S. re Vietnamese shrimp

Within the library's subscription to, access to dispute resolution commentaries (or DSCs) is a premium feature. Much shorter than the panel report or other summarized document, the DSC provides analysis, a summary and commentary, and links to key documents in the matter. provides several finding tools, including the searchable DSC Blog, a WTO Case Law Index, and directories of decisions by dispute or by decision type. (The control-F command can be a time-saving tool for locating entries within these indexes and directories.)

4.  Finding a case by Country

The WTO web site provides a directory of Members and Observers. The page for each Member provides information and links about disputes to which that Member state is a complainant, and respondent or a third party. The resulting Dispute Settlement status page explains and provides links to key documents in the dispute. Several of the tools noted above may also be helpful; see especially the decisions by dispute table in

5.  Finding cases by Treaty Article number

Two of the best tools to locate cases by treaty provision (e.g., Anti-Dumping Agreement, Article 2.4) are the WTO's Analytical Index and the WTO Case Law Index (

6.  Finding a NAFTA dispute resolution document

 NAFTA's web site includes a dispute settlement section. It provides an overview of dispute settlement provisions; a directory of decisions and reports; and the very convenient status report section, allowing a researcher to create a list of reports on active, completed and terminated disputes that meet various criteria, with links to key documents.



Steven Alexandre da Costa
Room 319