Arthur W. Diamond Law Library Research Guides

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International Trade Law Guide

Written by Karin Johnsrud, edited by Silke Sahl
Last Updated July 28, 2011

International trade is a complicated area of law to research because there are numerous levels of trade organizations and interactions. There are bilateral trade agreements, regional trade agreements and multinational trade agreements. Each of these agreements has its own history, policies and dispute settlement procedures. Trade organizations established under the agreements have separate resources that can be searched. Furthermore, individual countries have their own policies and laws relating to international trade. As an example, the United States Congress must pass legislation enacting international trade agreements before the United States can officially become a party. The national policies have to be researched individually and frequently separately from the resources relating to the international organizations.

The purpose of this guide is to provide an introduction to a variety of the resources available at the Diamond Law Library and through subscription databases, as well as from the Internet. General introductory resources will be discussed first. Then the guide will proceed through a discussion of the major multilateral trade agreements, regional trade agreements and United Nations trade bodies.

For additional assistance in finding International Trade Law materials at Columbia's Diamond Law Library, please do not hesitate to contact the reference librarians at the Reference desk. Consult the law library homepage for general information and reference desk hours.


Introductory Resources on International Trade

Dictionary of International Trade Law
Bhala, Raj. (2008) K3943 .B488 2008 4th Floor
Dictionary of International Trade
Rosenberg, Jerry M. (1994) JX6271 R723 1994 3rd Floor Reference
The purpose of this dictionary is to provide an introduction to the terminology and word usage in the area of international trade. Its goal is to establish core definitions of the terms most frequently used in this are of law. Special attention is given to regional trading blocs, terms used by U.S. governmental agencies and GATT. The terms are presented alphabetically and there are cross references from general terms to more specific terms. Terms with multiple definitions begin with the most commonly used and the other definitions are divided by area of specialty. Dictionary of International Trade]
International Trade and Economic Relations in a Nutshell
Folsom, Ralph H. 4th ed. (2009) K3943 .F64 2009 3rd Floor Reserve
As part of the Nutshell series, this resource presents an introduction to the topic of international trade. There are chapters covering the world trade and multinational enterprises, the WTO, the EU, import and export controls, NAFTA and regional economic integration. The book is designed to give the user a brief overview of international trade law and can serve as a starting point for research in the area.
The Regulation of International Trade
Trebilcock, M.J. 3rd ed. (2005) Comp 658 T712 2005 3rd Floor Reserve
This resource is intended to serve as an introduction to the institutes and rules that govern trade between sovereign states. It includes a historical look at the development of international trade law and policy. Individual chapters cover GATT, the WTO, NAFTA and the EU, as well was trade policy in specific topical areas, such as intellectual property, investment and agriculture.
Law of International Trade: Cross-Border Commercial Transactions
J. Chuah. 4th ed. (2009) K3943 .H68 2009 4th Floor
This resource presents an introduction to the major issues that arise in international trade. The author's intent was to present practical information for practitioners, as well as to place trade law in the context of how it relates to other aspects of international law. Areas discussed include sales of goods, remedies in international sales, agents in international trade transactions and alternative dispute resolution. The chapters are organized with an introduction and overview, before the topic is explored in detail. There is a detailed table of contents and a comprehensive index, as well as tables of cases, statutes and international conventions.
Law of International Trade
H. van Houtte. 2nd ed. (2002) JX6271 H815 2002 2nd Floor
This book presents a transnational view of trade regulation and business transactions. It explores international trade from the perspective of public law, private law and conflicts of law. Chapters include such topics as the components of the law of international trade, the regulation of international trade and the rules of states and international organizations. The book is clearly written and well organized. It contains a detailed index, a table of cases and a table of legislation to assist the researcher in finding the necessary information.

Introduction to GATT and the WTO

The General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) was enacted as an attempt to reduce the number of tariffs and trade barriers and to foster international trade in the years following World War II. It was signed in 1947 by over 100 countries and has served the international community for decades. Under the auspices of GATT there have been numerous rounds of trade negotiations on a variety of issues. Beginning in 1986, the Uruguay Round negotiations included the areas of tariffs, services and intellectual property. Over seven years of negotiations, the GATT agreements evolved into their current state. The Uruguay Round concluded in 1994 with numerous agreements to reduce trade barriers and institute more enforceable world trade rules. One of the major results of the Uruguay Round was the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which officially began operations on January 1, 1995. The WTO is a multilateral organization with the mandate to establish enforceable trade rules, to act as a dispute settlement body and to provide a forum for further negotiations into reducing trade barriers. According to the WTO website, there are 147 WTO member countries and observer countries. For a complete list of the member countries, visit the WTO webpage (see description below). Beginning in 2001 and proceeding through at least 2005, the Doha Agenda represents the current round of negotiations.

The official citations for GATT are TIAS 1700 and 55 U.N.T.S. 194 and its Protocol of Provisional Application can be found at TIAS 1700 and 55 U.N.T.S. 308. The WTO agreement is located in the United Nations Treaty Series (U.N.T.S.), volumes 1867, 1868 and 1869. For the exact page location for the agreement you need, it is necessary to consult the U.N.T.S. volumes. As an example, the citation for the Final Act Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations is 1867 U.N.T.S. 14. In addition to these locations, there are a number of places where one can find the text of the agreements establishing GATT and the WTO, as well as the history and development of the organizations. The Diamond Library contains numerous resources relating to GATT, the Uruguay Round and the WTO. Presented below are a selection of the library's resources which provide a good entry point for research in these areas.

Founding Documents

Basic Instruments and Selected Documents and Supplements
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. JX1976.T4 B29 2nd Floor & JX1976.T4 B291 2nd Floor
Beginning in 1952, this series provided access to the text of the agreements that established GATT and set forth the procedures followed therein. After the first edition, the books provided decisions and reports from GATT panels and committees and an updated list of the contracting parties. Indexes are provided in the supplement volumes to assist in finding relevant decisions. The supplements generally cover two to three year periods, with selective editions for individual years. The publication stops after the 42nd supplement in 1995.
Legal Texts: the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations
(2003) JX1976.W6 R31301 2003 3rd Floor Reserve
This book contains the full text of the agreements establishing following the Uruguay Round. The agreements are presented with no commentary or additional references. The only additional materials are selected ministerial declarations and decisions made at the time of and in relation to the various agreements that make up the Uruguay Round and Marrakesh Agreements.
Uruguay Round Agreement Act: A Legislative History of Public Law 103-465
B. Reams and J. Schultz. (1995) JX1976.T4 Ur8135 1995 2nd Floor and on Hein Online
This multi-volume resource presents the documents used and produced by the U.S Congress in consideration of passage of the Uruguay Round Agreement Act. Included in these volumes are the text of the bills, House and Senate reports, Congressional debate and presidential statements. Documents from other U.S agencies are provided, such as reports by the General Accounting Office and the Congressional Budget Office. This is a comprehensive legislative history for the passage of the Uruguay Round in the U.S. As such it provides an excellent look at the United States' perspective with regard to GATT 1994 and the WTO. There is a separate index volume which indexes the individual documents contained in the main volumes and because of this, provides an introduction to its organization.
WTO Agreement Series
WTO Publications (1999-) K4600 .W76 4th Floor
This series provides access to many of the agreements that came about as a result of the Uruguay Round. Individual volumes are devoted to each agreement. They contain the text of the agreement, an explanation of the articles of the agreement and supplementary materials relating to the agreement. They are organized to include an introduction, the actual text and core principles. The writing style uses clear, straightforward language to explain the reasons for and the content of the agreements. For a researcher interested in a specific agreement relating to the WTO, this series would be a good beginning point.
Basic Instruments and Selected Documents
World Trade Organization. (1995-) K4602.G462 4th Floor
This volume contains the protocols, decisions and reports adopted in 1995, as well as selected documents related to the Uruguay Round negotiations. The full text of the agreements involving specific WTO bodies, such as the General Council and Appellate Body (for dispute settlement), are presented. The book gives access to the documents without annotation or comments. There is a detailed table of contents and a brief index. The last section provides a list of decisions and reports not included, along with their document number, to assist researchers in finding these additional items.

GATT Resources

GATT Activities in …
GATT. JX1976.T4 Ac 851 2nd Floor
This annual volume published by the GATT contains information relating to the regular activities of the GATT and the work of GATT members. It is designed to provide interested parties with a review of the GATT activities from the preceding year. Following an introduction that provides an overview of the year, the volumes contain descriptions of activities, information relating to new agreements and actions taken by contracting members. The library collection contains this annual from 1969/1970 to 1994/1995. Following the 1994/1995 edition, this series merged with other international trade publications to form the WTO Annual Report (see description below in WTO resource section).
Trade Policy Review
JX1976.T42 (with a call number extension for individual countries) 2nd Floor
This series contains detailed reports relating the countries in GATT and how their internal trade policies interact with GATT policies. The Trade Policy Review Mechanism was created during the Uruguay Round in April 1989. Its purpose was to improve adherence of the contracting parties to GATT rules. The reports aim to increase the transparency of the trade practices of the contracting parties and to examine the impact such policies have on the multilateral trading system. The review volumes contain two reports, one created by the individual country and one by the GATT Secretariat. Reviews are conducted according to a set scheduled determined by the level of international trade engaged in by a particular country.

Uruguay Round Resources

Guide to the Uruguay Round Agreements
WTO. (1999) JX1976.T4 G942 1999 2nd Floor
The intent of this volume is to present a comprehensive and comprehensible explanation of the Uruguay Round agreements which gave rise to the WTO. Given the length of the process and the number of agreements that emerged from the discussions, this is a complex area of international trade regulation. This book provides an analysis of each agreement's content and purpose, with cross-references to the legal text of the agreement. It uses clear, straightforward language and would serve as a useful text for a beginning researcher.
The GATT Uruguay Round: A Negotiating History (1986-1992)
(1993) JX1976.T4 G2281 1993 2nd Floor
The four volume set presents a comprehensive overview of the Uruguay Round negotiations. It reviews many of the key issues and places them in an historical context. The book looks at the evolution of areas of concern, explains the positions of several participants and shows how the issues were resolved. Each chapter deals with a separate area of negotiation, so that researchers can focus on the issues on interest without having to review the entire set. The introduction in volume one provides a clear overview of the issues presents in the rest of the set with charts and tables to assist in understanding.
Reshaping the World Trading System: a History of the Uruguay Round
J. Croome. (1995) JX1976.T4 C881 1995 2nd Floor
This book presents a chronological history of the Uruguay Round. It begins with a review of the rounds of negotiation which preceded the Uruguay Round and discusses why further negotiations were felt to be necessary. By following the timeline of the Uruguay Round, the author presents a complete picture of the circumstances surrounding each section of the negotiations which leads to a clearer understanding of the process and the results. There is subject area analysis within each timeframe covered which allows the researcher to see how specific areas evolved over the course of the negotiations. This resource presents well-written and understandably-organized overview of the Uruguay Round and can serve as a backdrop for reviewing the actual text of the agreements.

WTO Resources

An Anatomy of the World Trade Organization
K. Adamantopoulos (ed). (1997) JX1976.W6 An16 1997 2nd Floor.
This book provides an overview of the history, structure and functions of the WTO. It is intended to be a practical guide for people who are involved in the area of international trade, but it is written in a style that is accessible to newer researchers. It begins with a review of GATT and the Uruguay Round and describes the numerous agreements produced as a result. The book then proceeds to an in-depth look at the WTO from the scope of its authority, to the general functions to the specific organizations within it. There is a discussion of the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism and procedures and an analysis of how the WTO differs from GATT.
Analytical Index: Guide to WTO Law and Practice
WTO. 2nd ed. (2007) K4610 .W778 2007 4th Floor
This two-volume resource is a guide to the interpretation and application of the Marrakesh Agreement which established the WTO. It presents the text of the agreements and then using panel, Appellate Body and arbitration reports and decisions, provides information regarding the interpretation and application of the articles of the agreements. In the introduction there are tables showing the names of the agreements that relate to the WTO, the bodies that makeup the WTO and the symbols that are used in WTO documents. It provides in-depth analysis of the relevant agreements and dispute settlement decisions surrounding them.
The New World Trade Organization Agreements
C. Arup. (2000) JX1976.W6 Ar85 2000 2nd Floor
This book is a useful resource because it focuses on the General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS) and Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). It goes beyond the basic WTO and GATT analysis and looks at the other agreements that arose following the Uruguay Round. It contains a general introduction to the WTO and then proceeds with a detailed explanation of GATS and TRIPs, including their history, provisions and case studies illustrating their application.
International Trade Statistics
WTO. (2001) JX1976.W6 In84 2nd Floor
This resource presents statistical analysis for the WTO for 2000. There is textual discussion of the year's projects and progress, as well as extensive use of tables and graphs, to provide a comprehensive overview of the WTO. While this resource might be too specific for a beginning research, the information provided would be useful for in-depth analysis of numerous aspects of WTO activities.
The World Trade Organization
T. Stewart, ed. (1996) JX1976.W6 W893 1996 2nd Floor
This resource was created to present an overview of the Uruguay Round Agreements, the major issues resolved during negotiations and comment on possible issues that might yet arise. The book breaks the agreements into subject areas and looks at them primarily from the standpoint of the United States' involvement. The first two chapters are more general and involve a discussion of the history of GATT/WTO and the legislative process necessary for U.S. implementation. Subsequent chapters involve analysis of areas, such as agriculture, anti-dumping, and intellectual property.
Annual Report
WTO. JX1976.W6 An78 2nd Floor
This is an annual product published by the WTO. It contains information relating to the regular activities of the WTO, the work of WTO members and information relating to budget and staff. It is designed to provide interested parties with a review of the WTO activities from the preceding year. With this in mind there are descriptions of activities, summaries of dispute settlement cases and statistics relating to WTO activities. The library has the Annual Reports from 1997 to the present
WTO: the Doha Agenda
B.L. Das. (2003) JX1976.W6 D26 2003 2nd Floor
This book presents an analysis of the most recent and ongoing negotiations on world trade. It provides an overview of the Doha work program, as well as examining fourteen of the key issues in detail. These issues include areas such as agriculture, provision of services and intellectual property. The author considers implementation issues and explores aspects of trade as they specifically affect developing countries. In the second part of the book, the author presents suggestions for improving the WTO agreement and rules, again with the focus on the developing countries. The full-text of the Ministerial Declaration from the Doha Conference, which led to the current round of negotiations, is included in this volume.

GATT/WTO Electronic Resources

World Trade Organization Home Page
The official website for the WTO provides an overview of the organization and contains a good description of the history and policies of the organization. A complete list of the member countries and an organizational chart of WTO bodies assist the researcher in understanding the WTO. There is a database called Documents Online, which provides access to the text of the agreements and the official documents of the WTO. Explanations of the dispute settlement purposes and procedures, as well as the text of dispute settlement decisions, are available on the site. For more information on WTO Dispute Resolution see the subsequent section of this guide.
The LEXIS databases provide access to both GATT and WTO materials. Of the databases under the heading International Trade, a number of them relate to WTO and GATT. It is possible to access both the basic agreements and the dispute settlement and panel decisions. GATT Basic Instruments and Selected Documents (BISD) contains decisions, reports and recommendations of GATT contracting parties. It is the online equivalent of the print GATT BISD. The database contains materials from the origin of GATT, but is no longer updated. Information on GATT since 1993 is contained in the GATT Uruguay Round database (GATT), which includes the full text of GATT 1994. Panel decisions for both GATT and WTO are available in the two databases - GATT Panel and World Trade Decisions (GTTWTO), from August 1948 through current and World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement (WTODS), from January 1, 1996 through current.
The WESTLAW databases provide access to both GATT and WTO materials. The simplest means of findings these databases is to use the ‘scan' function on the Directory page and search for GATT or WTO. Uruguay Round General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) begin coverage in April 1994 and contains the text of the final agreements resulting from the Uruguay Round. It also contains the Uruguay Round Agreement Act (the necessary mechanism passed by Congress, making the United States a party), WTO panel decisions and reports of the Uruguay Round bodies. WTO & GATT Panel Decisions (WTO-DEC) provides access to selected documents from dispute settlement panels formed under GATT (from 1948-1994) and the WTO beginning in 1995). An additional WTO database is the BNA WTO Reporter (BNA-WTOR), which is a publication that reports and analyzes WTO activities. Coverage began on April 23, 2001 and is updated daily.

Dispute Resolution in GATT/WTO

Dispute resolution under GATT 1947 was governed by Articles XXII and XXIII, which set up a system of consultation for the settlement of disputes between member nations. The dispute settlement system under GATT evolved over time and there were additional documents and legal instruments created to incorporate the changes. Examples of these include the 1966 Decision on Procedures under Article XXIII, which approved procedural changes to help developing countries proceed in the dispute settlement process, and the 1979 Understanding Regarding Nullification, Consultation and Dispute Settlement, which codified many of the customary dispute settlement practices that had been developed over the years. Part of the customary practice was to have the case heard by a panel of experts when consultations did not resolve the matter.

Even with the changes in the GATT procedure, the dispute settlement process was not considered satisfactory. Therefore, one of the mandates at the Uruguay Round was to strengthen and improve the rules and procedures for dispute settlement. The intent was to make the rules more concrete, so that it would be possible to have a more consistent application.

The basis for the WTO dispute settlement process is the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes [generally referred to as the DSU], which appears as Annex 2 of the WTO Agreement. Under the DSU, member countries can engage in consultations to settle disputes arising out of any of the WTO agreements or they can have a WTO panel hear the case. Under the DSU, panel decisions can be appealed to the Appellate Body. Additionally, unlike under GATT, WTO final decisions must be adopted unless there is a unanimous vote of all members not to do so.

Introductory Resources

Dispute Settlement in the World Trade Organization: Practice and Procedure
D. Palmeter and P. Mavroidis. 2nd ed. (2004) JX1976.W6 P1822 2004 3rd Floor Reserve
This volume provides a comprehensive introduction to the dispute settlement policies of the WTO. There are sections discussing the Dispute Settlement Body, the Appellate Body, the respective jurisdictions and the sources of law for the WTO decisions. The book contains analysis of all the stages of the dispute settlement process. It is clearly and understandably written and can serve as a good resource for beginning research into WTO's dispute settlement rules and procedures. There is a detailed index and table of contents, as well as a bibliography for additional resources.
International Trade Law and the GATT/WTO Dispute Settlement System
E. Petersmann, ed. (1997) JX1976.W6 In81 1997 2nd Floor
This book is intended to serve as an introduction to the dispute settlement procedures of the WTO. It begins with a history of dispute settlement policies of GATT beginning in 1947 and proceeds to a discussion of the current system under the WTO. Part two of the book explores dispute settlement practice in specific subject areas, such as anti-dumping, intellectual property and restrictive business practices. The book also discusses the WTO dispute settlement system in conjunction with the regional trade agreements and domestic courts. The book is clearly written, well-organized and would serve as a good introductory resource.
Handbook of WTO/GATT Dispute Settlement
P. Pescatore. JX1976.T4 P437 3rd Floor Reserve
This is a loose-leaf set. The purposes of the book are to provide an explanation of the dispute settlement procedures of the WTO and to provide access to dispute settlement instruments from both GATT and the WTO. The set also includes summaries of the dispute settlement decisions with references to where the full decision is published. There is a comprehensive introduction which discusses the evolution of the dispute settlement system from the original GATT to the current DSU under the WTO. In the introduction there are extensive footnotes with citations for locating the founding documents as well as references for further research.
Training Module for the Dispute Settlement System
The WTO website has training module for the Dispute Settlement System. It is designed to provide an overview and understanding of the dispute settlement mechanism of the WTO. It is possible to proceed through the sections in sequence. Alternatively there is an expandable table of contents for the researcher select specific sections of interest.

Legal Texts

The WTO Dispute Settlement Procedures: A Collection of the Relevant Legal Texts
2nd ed. (2001) JX1976.T4 W949 2001 2nd Floor
This book presents the legal texts relating to dispute settlement procedures under the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization. It is organized by subject matter and there is a comprehensive index as a finding aid. While there are helpful cross-references between sections, there are no annotations or explanations accompanying the text.

Dispute Resolution Decisions

Print Resources

World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Decisions: Bernan's Annotated Reporter
JX1976.W6 W894 1998 2nd Floor
Bernan's series is intended to provide access to the decisions of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body. This is an unofficial source for decisions. However, it is a good source because it includes all panel decisions and annotations. The decisions are set forth in chronological order. There are volumes devoted to annotations and case notes and these also contain indexes to the rest of the series. The annotation volumes also have useful cross-reference tables for treaty provisions interpreted and member country involvement in disputes.
International Trade Law Reports
JX1976.W6 In82 2nd Floor
This loose series contains panel reports of the WTO. Begun in 1996, it is currently six volumes organized by year. Within each volume cases are presented in chronological order. For each case, there is commentary, the panel report and the appellate body report. The commentary includes a discussion of the facts in the dispute and the findings of the panel, as well as legal and economic analysis of the panel's decision.
Basic Instruments and Selected Documents
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. JX1976.T4 B29 2nd Floor JX1976.T4 B291 2nd Floor
Beginning in 1952, this series provided access to the text of the agreements that established GATT and set forth the procedures followed therein. After the first edition, the books provided decisions and reports from GATT panels and committees and an updated list of the contracting parties. Indexes are provided in the supplement volumes to assist in finding relevant decisions. The supplements generally cover two to three year periods, with selective editions for individual years. The publication stops after the 42nd supplement in 1995.

Electronic Resources - The Online Source for World Trade Law
This website provides access to GATT/WTO Panel and Appellate Body Reports. The full text of the decisions is available through the WTO Panel Reports page of the site and it is possible to do keyword searches within all the reports. There is a list of decisions, organized alphabetically by country involved. It is important to note that within the list the link takes one to an abbreviated version of the decision without the parties' arguments and appendices. Since the decisions are generally long, this site also contains Dispute Settlement Commentaries which summarize and analyze the panel and appellate body reports. This is a valuable research tool to gain an understanding of the case and the decision before trying to read the full decision. A case law index is provided for the commentaries to assist in finding decisions relating to a particular topic.
The LEXIS databases provide access to both GATT and WTO dispute settlement and panel decisions. GATT Basic Instruments and Selected Documents (BISD) contains decisions, reports and recommendations of GATT contracting parties. It is the online equivalent of the print GATT BISD. Panel decisions for both GATT and WTO are available in the two databases - GATT Panel and World Trade Decisions (GTTWTO), from August 1948 through current and World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement (WTODS), from January 1, 1996 through current.
The WESTLAW databases provide access to both GATT and WTO dispute settlement and panel decisions WTO & GATT Panel Decisions (WTO-DEC) provides access to selected documents from dispute settlement panels formed under GATT (from 1948-1994) and the WTO beginning in 1995).

Research Strategies for Finding Dispute Decisions

It is important to note that panel decisions can be very long and that not all printed versions of them contain the full text of the decision. Print volumes may contain summaries or excerpts of the decisions. The decisions in print may omit addendums and annexes that have been included by the WTO panel for the sake of completeness.

A good place to find the full text of the decisions is the WTO website. Another reason to use the site is that the WTO considers it an official source of documentation. However, this site is not the most straightforward, so that having the name of the case is helpful. Within the WTO page, it is important to go directly to the panel decision page, rather than the official documents page because the panel decision page provides easier access to the decisions. It is also possible to access the GATT panel decisions through this site.

As noted above, panel decisions can also be found on Lexis, Westlaw and These resources generally have better search capabilities than the WTO site. Therefore, it is advisable to use them when one is looking for more than just a specific case.

Regional Trade Organizations

Regional trade organizations are multilateral arrangements focused around a geographical area. The goal of a regional trade organization is the liberalization of international trade between the member nations. Regional trade agreements generally take on one of four forms: free trade areas, customs unions, common markets and economic unions. Free trade areas occur when member countries eliminate tariffs and trade barriers, but maintain individual foreign trade policies. In customs unions, member countries eliminate tariffs and create a common external trade regime. With a common market, regional integration includes trade as well as free movement of all aspects of production. An economic union represents the coordination of all the economic policies of the member countries.

This section of the guide presents resources relating to the rise and development of regional trade organizations generally. Following that are discussions and resources for a selection of regional trade organizations. There are numerous other regional trade organizations in all areas of the world and it is possible to find information about them in some of the resources listed in the general information section.

Introductory Resources

Trade and the Developing World in the 21st Century
B. M. Carl. (2001) HF1379.C37 2001 4th Floor
This book provides a comprehensive overview of regional trade organizations with a focus on the developing countries of the world. It examines how regional trade organizations can help countries in areas such as tariffs, quotas and subsidies. Chapters review the organizational patterns for international trade from both a worldwide perspective and a regional perspective. The book is an excellent resource for information about the individual regional trade organizations with detailed history and explanation of their development. Since it is clearly-written, well footnoted and indexed, this is a valuable resource for beginning researchers.
New Dimensions in Regional Integration
J. DeMelo and A. Panagariya, eds. (1993) HF1418.5.N48 1993 4th Floor
This book is a good introduction to the rise of regional integration. Introductory chapters present a comparison between regionalism and multilateralism. There are sections dealing with all the major areas of the world and one chapter looks at the influences that GATT had on the development of regional trade arrangements. Charts and tables are provided in many of the chapters and there are bibliographic references presented to assist in further research.
Trade Blocs?: The Future of Regional Integration
V. Cable and D. Henderson eds. (1994) HF1418.5.T73 1994 4th Floor
This volume reviews recent developments in regional integration and presents an overview of the trends that developed. The first chapter explores why regional trade organizations arise and delves into the different approaches to developing such arrangements. Many of the chapters focus on the European Union and Asia. This book presents the issue in detail and would be a good resource for researchers who have an existing understanding of regional trade organizations.

North American Free Trade Agreement

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a trade agreement designed to reduce the boundaries for goods and services across the borders of Canada, the United States and Mexico. While it does not establish a common market in the full sense of the term, NAFTA will develop a free trade zone throughout North America. Negotiations for NAFTA began in July of 1991 and the final draft was completed by the summer of 1992. The leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico signed NAFTA on December 17, 1992. In Mexico, NAFTA became law as an international treaty. In both Canada and the United States, domestic legislation was required in order to implement the treaty. The NAFTA Implementation Act [P.L. 103-182, 107 Stat 2057] passed Congress in December 1993 and was codified primarily into Title 19 of the United States Code [19 U.S.C. 3301 et seq.]. NAFTA officially entered into force on January 1, 1994. In addition to the main treaty, NAFTA included two other agreements relating to environmental and labor issues: the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation and the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation.

The U.S.-Canada Free-Trade Agreement (FTA or CFTA) was a precursor to NAFTA. It was a bilateral trade agreement between the United States and Canada designed to open up the borders between the two countries. The development of the FTA acted as motivation for the development and eventual implementation of NAFTA. FTA went into effect on January 1, 1989, but was suspended following the signing of NAFTA. Were NAFTA to fail or either the U.S. or Canada to withdraw, the FTA would be reinstated.

There are a number of places where one can find the text of the NAFTA agreements, as well as its origins and negotiations. The Diamond Library contains numerous resources relating to NAFTA. Presented below are a selection of the library's resources which provide a good entry point for research in this area.

NAFTA Dispute Resolution

Dispute resolution under NAFTA is governed by Chapter 19 - Review and Dispute Settlement in Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Matters and by Chapter 20 - Institutional Arrangements and Dispute Settlement Procedures. Under Article 1904, judicial review of disputes is replaced with binational panel review. Article 2002 established the Secretariat which has the authority to administer the trade disputes mechanisms specified under the NAFTA to resolve conflicts in timely and impartial manner.

NAFTA Founding Documents

North American Free Trade Agreements
JX5525 N8111 1993 3rd Floor Reserve
This loose-leaf contains the full-text of all the NAFTA agreements, as well as other documents relating to NAFTA, such as dispute settlement panel decisions and commentaries. This is a multi-volume set with four volumes for the treaties and currently one or two volumes for commentary and decisions.
NAFTA: Final text, summary, legislative history and implementation directory
J.R. Holbein and D.J. Musch. (1994) JX5525 H691 1994 2nd Floor
The resource contains the full text of NAFTA. It also provides a summary of the intent and functions of the trade agreement. A legislative history of Congress' action in passing the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act is presented in the first section of the book. The legislative history begins with a summary of the passage of the Act and then lists the relevant Congressional hearings, debates and reports, as well as presidential remarks relating to NAFTA. The NAFTA summary section quickly explains the terms of the agreement in sequential order.

NAFTA Resources

NAFTA and Free Trade in the Americas in a Nutshell
R. H. Folsom. 3rd ed. (2008) KDZ944 .F653 2008 3rd Floor Reserve
As part of the Nutshell series, this book provides a general introduction to NAFTA. There are chapters covering the relationship between Canada, the United States and Mexico before NAFTA and the history of the Canadian-United States Free Trade Agreement (a precursor to NAFTA). There is a discussion of the ratification process for NAFTA and how NAFTA has been interpreted. Sections of the book introduce and analysis NAFTA with regard to specific areas, such as goods, services and intellectual property. Dispute settlement procedures are addressed with examples given. The full text of NAFTA is included as an appendix and there is a fairly comprehensive index at the end.
Navigating NAFTA: A concise user's guides to the North American Free Trade Agreement
B. Appleton. (1994) JX5525 Ap53 1994 2nd Floor
Written in clear, understandable language, this book serves as an introduction to NAFTA. It begins with an overview of the history and proposes of the trade agreement. There are chapters discussing the implementation process, each country's obligations and how NAFTA interacts with other international agreements. Specific subject areas are analyzed in conjunction with the NAFTA obligations and the dispute resolution policies are explained. The book ends with chapters dealing with frequently raised concerns about NAFTA. The book has a detailed table of contents and table of cases referenced and would serve as a good starting point for research into NAFTA.
Glossary of NAFTA Terms
C.D. De Fouley. (1994) JX5525 F824 1994 2nd Floor
The volume contains an alphabetical list of terms relating to NAFTA. It is intended to serve as a resource to assist researcher in understanding the terminology of NAFTA specifically as well as within the context of international trade. The definitions vary in length and are written clearly. There are cross-references between related terms and appendices of common abbreviations and organization names are included at the end of the book.
Assessing NAFTA: A trinational analysis
S. Globerman and M. Walker, eds. (1993) JX5525 As74 1993 2nd Floor
Completed during NAFTA negotiations (prior to the implementation of the agreement), this book provides an interesting historical analysis of what were considered to be issues, problems and concerns relating to NAFTA. This is a collection of studies by different authors which explore the topic in different contexts. There are chapters relating to how NAFTA would impact each of the countries involved, as well as a chapter on NAFTA's impact in general. Specific affected trade areas are discussed, such as the automotive industry and agriculture. There are also chapters discussing the dispute resolution issues and environmental concerns. Since this material is from before NAFTA's enactment, it is not current and should only be considered within a historical, analytical context.
NAFTA: Summary and Analysis
(1993) JX5525 N8112 1993 2nd Floor
Although written for a particular law firm and its clients, this resource serves as a straight-forward review of a number of the key aspects of NAFTA. The book takes the chapters of NAFTA in order and provides a highlight of the key terms, a brief summary, a comment regarding its development and an analysis of the main impacts. Organized using bullet points, this volume serves as an overview of issues presented in NAFTA.

NAFTA Electronic Resources

NAFTA Secretariat
This website contains information on the dispute settlement proceedings, legal texts and panel decisions and reports relating to NAFTA. The full-text of NAFTA is available, as are the Rules of Procedure and Code of Conduct for Dispute Settlement. It is possible to find the current status of pending panel proceedings. Final panel reports are available in PDF format and it is possible to review the complete list organized by country and searches can be narrowed by year and the dispute settlement article involved. A useful section of the website is the Overview of the Dispute Settlement Provisions. There is also a Glossary of NAFTA terms and Frequently Asked Questions section to assist researchers in understanding NAFTA and the dispute settlement procedures.
The NAFTA database provides access to the full text of the North American Free Trade Agreement. It also had associated summaries, news releases, and text describing NAFTA. Coverage begins with August 1992 when the final agreement was reached. The NAFTA-LH database contains a comprehensive legislative history of the North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (P.L. 103-182). Full text of decisions issued by the North American Free Trade Agreement Binational Panel (formerly the U.S.-Canada Free Trade Agreement Binational Panel) dating from 1989 are presented in the NAFTA-BIP database. Information about NAFTA is also presented in other databases, such as International Business Transactions (INTBUSTRAN). A useful aspect of WESTLAW is the scan function within the Directory that allows one to find all the databases where information on NAFTA will be found.
The full-text of the NAFTA agreement is available for reading and searching on Lexis. The text of supplemental agreements on labor, the environment and emergency acts are presented, as is the NAFTA Administrative Action Statement. The NAFDEC database contains NAFTA Panel Review Decisions. Full-text coverage begins in 1995.

Mercado Común del Cono Sur

The Mercado Comun del Cono Sur (MERCOSUR) was established by the Treaty of Asuncion [30 I.L.M.1041] in March 1991. The final Protocol of Ouro Preto was signed in December 1994 and MERCOSUR went into effect on January 1, 1995. It is a customs union between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Other South American countries have become associate members in MERCOSUR (Chile and Bolivia in 1996 and Peru in 2003) and there are negotiations proceeding with Mexico, Venezuela and Columbia for further expansion. The purpose of MERCOSUR is to create a common market with the elimination of trade barriers between the member countries. The Protocol of Ouro Preto established the administrative structure for MERCOSUR. The Protocol of Brasilia detailed the dispute settlement procedure and the Protocol of Olivos created the Permanent Appellate Tribunal.

It is important to note that the majority of the documentation for MERCOSUR is created in Spanish and Portuguese and has not been translated into English. However, translations of the founding documents are available through the website of the Brazilian government.

Código del MERCOSUR : tratado, protocolos, acuerdos, declaraciones, decisiones, resoluciones, directivas, recomendaciones
J.R. Dromi, ed. (1996) JX1986 C648 1996 2nd Floor
This is an eight volume set that contains the treaties, protocols, agreements and decisions from MERCOSUR.
MERCOSUR webpage
This website provides information relating to the history and formation of MERCOSUR. Available in Spanish and Portuguese.

Common Market for Eastern & Southern Africa

Created in December 1994, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) operates with the goal of reducing tariffs and forming a trading bloc capable of overcoming the obstacles the countries would face individually. The COMESA Treaty established the administrative structure and functions of the organization. Twenty-one countries have become members of COMESA by signing on o the COMESA Treaty, which makes it the largest regional trade organization in Africa. In October 2000, the first Free Trade Area in Africa was developed between nine of the COMESA members which included the elimination of non-tariff barriers and the free movement of goods and services. The rest of the COMESA members have the ability to join the Free Trade Area after they successfully eliminate the tariffs and trade barriers.

The COMESA webpage�has a great deal more information about the structure, purposes and activities of the organization.

Trade Law Center for Southern Africa

Trade Law Centre for Southern Africa (TRALAC) was established in 2002. It was created to build the international trade capacity in Southern and Eastern Africa. By uniting the member countries into an organized group, TRALAC hopes to increase the region's participation in international trade. To further its goal, TRALAC develops working papers and holds seminars on regional and international issues. It has also prepared opinion briefs for the governments of the region, explaining and clarifying aspects of trade law. The TRALAC website provides access to the working papers and opinion briefs, as well as presenting daily updates of regional trade news.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations

Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) is a treaty organization established in 1967. It currently has ten members. The original five were Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand with Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), and Vietnam joining over the years. The goals of ASEAN are to foster regional economic growth and promote regional stability and development. As an advocate of the less developed nations of Southeast Asia, ASEAN has become a key player in the international trade negotiations. The ASEAN Free Trade Area was initiated in January 1992 with the intent of reducing comprehensive tariff reduction in the region.

The ASEAN webpage has a great deal more information about the structure, purposes and activities of the organization. It also provides information about the ASEAN Treaties.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was established in 1989 with the purpose of eliminating trade and investment barriers in the Asia-Pacific region. There are currently 21 member nations. For a complete list see the APEC website. Since there is no treaty underlying the organization, all the initiatives proceed on a voluntary basis. There is no formal institutional structure and no dispute settlement process. Regular meetings between the leaders of the member countries have led the way toward the fulfillment of the goals of APEC.

The APEC webpage has a great deal more information about the purposes and activities of the organization.

United Nations Trade Bodies

United Nations Commission on International Trade Law

United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) was created by the UN General Assembly in 1966 with the mandate of reducing obstacles to international trade. The General Assembly understood that existing national trade laws were disparate and recognized that there needed to be an international commission whose purpose is to work toward a more unified concept of international trade law. One of UNCITRAL's missions is the creation of model laws in areas of international trade, as a means of fostering uniformity in trade laws, with the intent that the participating nations will adopt the laws. The Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration is one example of the work of UNCITRAL.

UNCITRAL is composed of representatives from the sixty member states. Previously, the membership was twenty-five nations, but as June 14, 2004, it increased to the current sixty. Each member is elected by the General Assembly for a six-year term. Membership of UNCITRAL is structured to be representative of geographic regions, economic systems and legal systems.

UNCITRAL Introductory Resources

This is the official United Nations' webpage for UNCITRAL. It is accessible in the six official languages of the U.N. Information is available relating to the general mission of UNCITRAL, its working groups and areas of interest and current projects.. The full texts of the model rules created by the Commission are available, as are legal guides on related subjects. The website is easy to navigate and search and UNCITRAL has prepared a Research Guide to assist users in finding documents (this is located on the left menu on the main page).
The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law
UNCITRAL, (1986) JX 1976.A49 V Un16 2nd Floor
This book serves as an introduction to UNCITRAL. Its purpose is to provide an overview to UNCITRAL for anyone with an interest in international trade. Written in clear language, it covers the background, organization and functioning of the commission. There are sections describing the formation of UNCITRAL and its general procedures for conducting business. Other chapters focus on the different areas of interest for the commission, such as international sale of goods and transport of goods, and describe the works of the commission in these areas. Included in the volume is the text of the General Assembly Resolution establishing UNCITRAL, as well as the full text of the agreements and other materials that have resulted from the work of the commission.
Uniform Commercial Law in the Twenty-first Century: Proceedings of the Congress of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law
UNCITRAL. (1995) JX1976.A49 V Un32 1992 2nd Floor
The volume is a collection of speeches during the Congress of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law which took place in May 1992. The Congress was intended as a session whereby participants could considered and review the progress made in the unification of international trade law since the inception of UNCITRAL. It was also meant to be a stage for consideration of future projects for UNCITRAL to further its mission. The book provides a historical look at the origins of UNCITRAL and a clear review of its main projects in areas such as sales of goods, commercial arbitration and dispute settlement. In considering the future, ideas were presented about how UNCITRAL should operate in a changing world and how to gain wider acceptance of the model laws.
Legal Guide on International Countertrade Transactions
UNCITRAL, (1993) JX1976.A49 V Un155 1993 2nd Floor
This guide was written to provide a framework for international countertrade transactions. Since one of UNCITRAL's objectives was to develop more uniformity in international trade laws, creating a legal guide with recommendations, suggestions and advice about how countertrade transactions should operate in the international arena fall within its area of interest. The volume sets out definitions of key terms, describes approaches to structuring the transactions and provides lists of suggested contract clauses. There are recommendations regarding drafting of the contracts and chapters focus on specific aspects of the process, such as pricing and payment, failure to complete the transaction and dispute settlement. While this book applies to a specific area of international law, it is a good example to show how UNCITRAL operates. It also provides an overview for researchers looking for information on international countertrade transactions.
UNCITRAL. JX1976.A49 V T7 2nd Floor
The Yearbook is the annual report of the activities of UNCITRAL. It contains the report of the commission on its annual session and discusses actions taken by the General Assembly and other U.N. bodies in response to that meeting. Reports of the UNCITRAL working groups are presented as are the studies and reports from the Secretary-General and Secretariat. The Yearbook can also contain reports and records relating to consideration of draft model laws. Each volume has a table of contents and there is an appendix listing resources with their U.N. document number. The law library has the Yearbook beginning with the 1968/1970 volume and has received up through the 2001 volume. The Yearbook is also available online through UNCITRAL webpage.

UNCITRAL Model Rules

Commentary on the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration
A. Broches. (1990) JX6279 B782 2nd Floor
One of the main enactments of UNCITRAL is the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, which has been adopted in full or in part by many nations. This book serves as an introduction to the model law and explains its origins and purpose. With a focus on the legislative history of the law, the author details the provisions of the law and discusses the reasoning behind them. The book is arranged by article of the law with discussion of individual sections. An appendix contains the full text of the model law for ease of reference.
UNCITRAL Conciliation Rules
UNCITRAL. (1981) Jx1976.A49 v Un15 2nd Floor
This volume sets out the conciliation rules developed by UNCITRAL. Adopted by the United Nations in General Assembly Resolution 35/52 in 1980, this set of rules would bind parties who have consented to the rules and who seek to settle their disputes through conciliation. The rules set out the process for dispute settlement, including appointment of conciliator, submission of statements and acceptance of settlement agreement.

Case Law Resources

Case Law on UNCITRAL Texts
Case Law on UNCITRAL Texts (CLOUT) is a full text database of cases relating to the texts of the Model Rules developed by UNCITRAL. It is accessed through the left side menu on the main UNCITRAL page. The intent of presenting the decisions was to foster a greater understanding of the rules and facilitate a more uniform interpretation and application of them. A list of case abstracts is available for researchers who already have the U.N. document case citation. There is a User's Guide linked to the CLOUT mainpage which explains the organization and search capacity of the site, which is an excellent place to begin the research process on CLOUT.
Model Law Decisions: Cases applying the UNCITRAL Model Law on Commercial Arbitration (1985-2001)
H. Alvarez, N. Kaplan and D. Rivkin. (2003) JX 6279 AL85 2003 2nd Floor
Following the creation of the Model Law, many countries proceeded to adopt its provisions into their national laws. Since the purpose of the Model Law was to assist in developing uniformity of national laws on international arbitration, the authors of this volume determined that it would be useful to create a resource that would bring together the decisions of the various countries applying the provisions of the Model Law. The book is organized by the article of the law involved, so that the different interpretations of the article are seen together. Each section begins with the text of the article and a brief summary of how it has been applied. A detailed summary of the decisions follows this introduction, arranged chronologically for each country.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was established in 1964. Its purpose was to promote and encourage international trade and economic development in developing countries. It was also designed to create policies and principles on international trade which would further the positions of developing nations. The movement toward such a trade body began following World War II and culminated in the Conference on Problems of Developing Countries held in Cairo in 1962. Representatives from Asian, African and Latin American countries met and in the Cairo Declaration advocated for the creation of a conference to explore and expand the trade relations between developing and developed nations. Eastern European countries quickly supported the Cairo Declaration's call for a conference, while economically developed countries were reluctant to support such a goal. The United Nations Economic and Social Council decided in August 1962 to hold the conference and following much debate, UNCTAD came into existence. Since it had been determined that there is significant linkage between international trade and development within a country, it followed that there should be an international body devoted to expanding trade opportunities for developing nations.

UNCTAD Founding Documents

Basic Documents
UNCTAD. (1995) JX1976.A236 Un35 1995 2nd Floor
This volume provides access to the documents that established the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and that have structured its organization and procedures. There are lists of the members of UNCTAD and its related committees and working groups. Information relating to the standing committees' activities and memberships are included. A useful aspect of the book is the inclusion of a chart showing the intergovernmental structure of UNCTAD. Since it was published in 1995, the membership lists are not up to date and there are documents that were implemented after the date of publication which would have to be found elsewhere. However, this is a useful volume because it pulls together an important group of documents relating to the creation and running of UNCTAD.
Rules of Procedure
UNCTAD. (1987) JX1976.A49 II Un358 1987 2nd Floor
The Rules of Procedure set forth the process of how UNCTAD operates. It states the time period for holding conferences, notification requirements and the composition of delegates at the conferences. It also discusses the election of the officers for the conference, the rules of order relating to the speeches and debates and the reporting process for the results of the conference. The Rules are arranged chronological within the process of the conference, from convening to adjourning and the volume includes a table of contents for easy access to the relevant rule.

Introductory & Historical Resources

UNCTAD Homepage
This website provides information relating to the development and activities of UNCTAD. Sections relate to the history of the Conference and the current programs and projects of the organs of UNCTAD. The site provides access to the annual report, trade statistical reports, and a wealth of other materials created by UNCTAD. Updates relating to the most recent Conference, held in Sao Paulo, and workshops being presented are available. Some UNCTAD documents are available in full text, while abstracts are provided for others with instructions on how to order them. The documents database can be browsed or searched, depending on the needs of the researcher.
The History of UNCTAD 1964-1984
UNCTAD. (1985) JX 1976.A49 II Un12 2nd Floor
Written to mark the twentieth anniversary of UNCTAD, this volume provides a look at what UNCTAD has succeeded in doing since its founding. Following a general introduction, highlighted by the speech given by the UNCTAD Secretary-General, this book reviews the policy initiatives started by the member countries, in furtherance of the mission of the conference. For each subject area, there is an overview of the situation both pre-UNCTAD and as a result of UNCTAD activities. Information is also provided about future actions planned or considered by UNCTAD member countries. Although this book is not current, it serves as a historical overview of the progress made by UNCTAD for developing countries in its first twenty years.
UNCTAD for a New Economic Order
Z. Haquani. (1978) JX1976.A236 H2 2nd Floor
This book presents an introduction to UNCTAD and illustrates the reasons that lead to its development. Published in 1978, this book is a historical look at developing countries and push for an international trade body to assist them in furthering international trade goals. Chapters include discussions of UNCTAD's origins, its structure and its working methods.
Law Making Activities of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
C. Rhyne, A. Mutuc and J. Mayhew. (1976) JX1976.A236 R34 2nd Floor
This volume provides a snapshot in time for UNCTAD activities in a selection of areas of interest. It begins with a review of the origins of UNCTAD and then looks in depth at the specific areas where UNCTAD has acted for developing countries. Agreements relating to commodities, manufacturing and the transfer of technology are explained and analyzed in relation to how they affect the status of developing countries. The book also briefly discusses UNCTAD's attempts for negotiate multilateral trade treaties between developing and developed nations.

Statistical Resources

Statistical Pocket Book
UNCTAD. 3rd ed. (1994) JX1976.A49 II St125 1994 2nd Floor
This compendium of statistics provides tables of data relating to the countries in UNCTAD. It covers a range of areas, including gross domestic product, commodities trading, manufacturing exports foreign direct investment, and shows how member nations' status in these areas has developed since the founding of UNCTAD. Since the charts and graphs are presented without analysis, this volume is for researches who are interested in doing statistical analysis in one of the subjects areas represented.
Development and Globalization: Facts and Figures
This UNCTAD publication is a statistical reference book designed to highlight the economic evolution of developing countries. It provides information on trade, investment, and manufacturing, as well as facts relating population.

Additional Information - Research Guides

General International Trade Guides

Georgetown University School of Law - Research Guide - International Trade Law.
This research guide is a fairly comprehensive bibliography of both print and electronic resources related to international trade.
Boston University School of Law - Research Guide - International Trade Law Research.
This research guide sets out a possible research scheme for beginning the process of learning about this area of law.
LLRX - Revised Guide to International Trade Law Sources on the Internet
This guide provides an annotated list of some of the most helpful internet resources relating to international trade law.

GATT & WTO Guides

University of California Berkeley - Researching the GATT and the WTO.
This guide presents a brief history of the GATT and WTO and then lists resources for obtaining related documents.
This is a detailed guide covering primary and secondary resource on both the WTO and GATT.
University of Chicago - World Trade Organization (WTO) Panel Decisions.
This guide focuses on the print and electronic resources for panel decisions.

NAFTA Guides

New York University - NAFTA Research.
This research guide presents NAFTA implementation materials organized by country.
Harvard Law School - NAFTA - Research Guide.
This guide lists NAFTA resources and focuses on online materials for updating.
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