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Foreign Investment Research Tips

Written by Dana Neacşu Last Updated December 4, 2012

Following is a selective list of resources useful for foreign investment research. For additional help, you may ask any Reference Librarian for assistance.

Catalogs, Indexes and other Databases

  • Use the Diamond Law Library's catalog, PEGASUS. Also use the University Libraries' catalog, CLIO, to find resources at other libraries, including the Business Library, and use WorldCat to find books beyond the Columbia system.
  • To find journal articles, use Wilson's Index to Legal Periodicals and the Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals. You may access those indexes from the Diamond Law Library's Electronic Resources Web Page. To find indexes and journals for business resources, go to the Business and Economics Databases Page.
  • To find foreign legal sources use Reynolds and Flores' Foreign Law Guide. You may access this guide from the Diamond Law Library's Electronic Resources Web Page, or use it in print (Reference K38 .R49 1989).
  • Searchable full texts of the WTO and NAFTA agreements, GATT panel reports, WTO panel and appellate reports and arbitration decisions and NAFTA Chapter 20 panel reports. Subscribers also have access to WTO Dispute Settlement Commentary Service, Subject-Matter pages and a WTO Case-Law Index. Access to this fee-based portion of the database is available for the Columbia University campus by IP address. Proxy service is available for members of the Law School community.

Browsing Our library shelves

Due to space shortage, we cannot support any longer research serendipity through shelf browsing. However, you may want to remember that sources on trade regulation are classified under the LC call number KF 1601-1668, and can be found on the 4th floor.

Foreign and Comparative Law material is classified in this library using Schiller's Classification . Foreign law is located in the Cellar. The classification system is arranged by the country (ex. Fr = France law). Each country's commercial law is then classified in the 600s. For example, see Fr 600s for French commercial law; Sp. Ar. 600s for Argentinean commercial law; Comp 600s for comparative commercial law.

You can also search Pegasus by call number. From the Web interface use the " Find by Call Number "option, and from the Telnet screens choose either "C" for domestic and international law material or "H" for foreign material. More information on the classification systems can be found on our Library Classification Page .

Subject-Specific Sources in the Law Library

Foreign Investment

Investment Laws of the World. (Oceana Publications) (1977-)
4th Floor:  K1112 .I58

This ten-volume loose-leaf is a good source for many foreign investment laws, especially for countries whose legal system is difficult to research. Its first volume contains two useful finding tools: a table of contents and a descriptive list.

Investment Promotion and Protection Treaties. (Oceana Publications) (1983-)
4th Floor:  K1112 .I581

This loose-leaf is a comprehensive source to bilateral and multilateral investment treaties. Its last volume (7 th) includes two finding tools: an alphabetical and a chronological index to the treaties it contains.

Latin America (1995-1998)
2nd Floor: JX6271 L349

This two-volume loose-leaf is part of the Commercial and Investment Law series and covers commercial laws of Mexico, Brazil, and Panama, in its first volume, and those of Argentina and Paraguay, in its second. Its last updating supplement was published in 2000.

BNA's Eastern Europe reporter (1991-)
Cellar /Latest UNBOUND issues in 3rd Fl Reserve/ Comp 600.1 B899

This is a unique source that covers, inter alia , US investment policy regarding those countries. The most recent bound volume is from 2001.

Pollan, Thomas. Legal Framework for the Admission of FDI (2006)
4th Floor; K3830 .P65 2006

This is a must-read overview for the researcher interested in foreign direct investment (FDI) admission polices.

International Trade Law & Practice of United States Regulation of International Trade (1987-)
4th Floor: KF1976 .J57 1987 (Oceana Publications)

This loose-leaf service provides an excellent analysis of federal laws, regulations, and cases that have most affected the US import and export.

International Trade Reporter Decisions (1980-)
4th Floor: KF1976 .A64

This BNA reporter covers decisions of Federal and State courts and administrative agencies in the field of U.S. import law. It contains 23 volumes and it has a topical index, classification guide, and a table of cases.

Diamond, Walter H. Tax-free Trade Zones of the World (1977-1998)
2nd Floor: JX5525 D54

This is an excellent source to the existing 709 tax-free trade zones of the world and the services they offer.

Clubb, Bruce E. United States Foreign Trade Law ( 1991) 4th Floor: KF1976 .C58 1991
This two-volume treatise offers an in-depth historical perspective of United States import and export transactions.

Young, Michael K.United States Trade Law and Policy (2001)
4th Floor: KF1976 .Y68 2001

This is a very accessible introduction to American trade policy formation and execution. Its eight chapters cover U.S. trade policy and practice from various points of view, including antidumping and countervailing duty actions, escape clause actions, as well as environmental protection, international human rights, and international politics.

Clasen, Thomas F. Foreign Trade and Investment: a Legal Guide (1995)
4th Floor: KF1976 .C58 1990

An overview of the basic legal issues involved in international business, such as foreign agents and distributors, international licensing and technology transfers. Its last update, however, was in Sept 1994.

Labaree, Robert V. The Federal Trade Commission: a Guide to Sources (2000)
3rd Fl Reference: [1] KF1611 .L32 2000

It covers information about consumer protection, antitrust laws, trade regulations, and the federal trade commission.


Law & Practice of the World Trade Organization (1995)
3rd Fl Reserve: JX1976.W6 L41

Successor to "Law and Practice under the GATT," this publication contains the entire official text of the Marrakesh Declaration, the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization, GATT 1994, the Uruguay Round agreements, as well as related ministerial decisions, declarations, and understandings.

World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Decisions: Bernan's Annotated Reporter (1998)
2nd Floor: JX1976.W6 W894 1998

This set contains WTO decisions. While it is useful and contains annotations, it is not the official source.

Pescatore, Pierre. WTO/GATT Dispute Settlement Digest: With Key Words & Summaries
2nd Floor: JX6279 P43 1997


North American Free Trade Agreements (1993-) (Oceana Publications)
3rd Floor Reserve: JX5525 N8111 1993

This loose-leaf service contains both primary and secondary sources pertinent to the agreement: the treaties (vol. 2), dispute settlements (vol.1) and commentaries (vol.1).

NAFTA Law and Business
4th Floor: KDZ944.A41992 N356

This Kluwer publication aims to help law, business, and government professionals to understand better the operational realities of the North American Free Trade Agreement. It includes both primary and secondary sources pertinent to the agreement.

Rugman, Alan M. (ed) Foreign Investment and NAFTA (1994)
4th Floor: HF1746 .F67 1994

This collection of articles presents an interesting analysis of NAFTA. The agreement is viewed as part of an ongoing process of economic regionalization.

ALI. Transnational Insolvency: Cooperation among the NAFTA Countries.

The library has the entire collection authored by the American Law Institute, which focuses on transnational insolvency from the point of view of each NAFTA country member. The collection includes both primary (e.g., the responsive text of each domestic bankruptcy law) and secondary sources (such as glossary of useful legal terms).
  • International Statement of Canadian Bankruptcy Law (2003)
2nd Floor: JX6281 T6873 2003
  • International Statement of Mexican Bankruptcy Law (2003)
2nd Floor: JX6281 T6874 2003
  • International Statement of United States Bankruptcy Law (2003)
2nd Floor: JX6281 T6875 2003

International Business Law

Lander, Guy P. U.S. Securities Law for International Financial Transactions and Capital Markets (2001-)
2nd Floor: JX6271 L234

This treatise explores inter alia, the ways in which companies access capital markets and conduct securities offerings.

Waller, Spencer Weber. Antitrust and American Business Abroad (1998-)
4th Floor: KF1976 .B733

This two-volume loose-leaf covers the field of international antitrust from the point of view of 'what policies and legal rules are best for the United States.'

Folsom, Ralph Haughwout. International Business Transactions (2002)
3rd Fl Reserve: KF1976 .F65 2002

This two-volume treatise offers a detailed and comprehensive treatment of principles and issues in international sales law.

Klein, William A. Business Organization and Finance: Legal and Economic Principles (2002)
3rd Fl Reserve: KF1366 .K56 2002

Co-authored by CLS Professor John Coffee, this is an accessible introduction to business organization and finance. Its 5 th chapter covers valuation, financial strategies and capital markets.

Company Information at the Columbia Business Library

To find stock exchange information and other data about US and foreign companies, use the Business Library. The Business Library is located in Uris Hall. Uris Hall is the building directly behind Low Library.

You will have to use databases that are only available at the Business Library, and you'll need the assistance of the Reference Librarians there to do so. The Business Library Reference Desk is usually open Monday through Friday from 1- 5 p.m.

The Business Library has a good guide to these materials. It also includes a listing of  Internet Resources by Country/Region.

Helpful Web Sites

Helpful Research Guides

Please send comments regarding this guide to Dana Neacşu, at