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International Trade Law


International Trade Law

International trade law includes the rules and customs governing trade between countries. 

International trade agreements are negotiated at any one of the following three levels:

  • multilateral level, administered by the World Trade Organization
  • regional level, such as Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
  • bilateral level, such as free trade and investment agreements with key trading partners.

The focus of this research guide is the multilateral trading system administered by the World Trade Organization, and on the contribution of the UN's UNCITRAL to international trade law.

The rapid growth of international trade has generated a complex and ever-growing body of primary law, including international agreements and trade dispute settlement case law. This guide will show you where and how to find these primary documents and to recommend ways to find secondary sources (books and journal articles) on your international trade law topic. 


A good introduction ... 

One Stop Research Databases 

The following UniMelb subscription databases include reports of cases and arbitrations, annotated agreements and texts, citators, and negotiating histories. Both have slightly different content and are searched in different ways, so to research comprehensively you may need to use both. 

  • TradeLawGuide includes annotated agreements and texts, cases, citators negotiating histories & precursor agreements.
  • (also known as Dispute Settlement Commentary or DSC) offers both an open access resource library of current trade news and resources, as well as a subscription service (the DSC Service), which provides summary and analysis of all WTO reports and arbitrations; a current keyword index; a database of dispute settlement tables and statistics; and a user-friendly search tool for WTO cases, legal texts, and other documents.