Show Less
You do not have access to this content

Advanced Introduction to International Trade Law

Michael J. Trebilcock Joel Trachtman

Written by two leading scholars with 60 years of collective experience in the area, this insightful updated second edition provides a clear and concise introduction to the fundamental components of international trade law, presenting the basic structure and principles of this complex area of law, alongside elucidation of specific GATT and WTO legal rules and institutions. Key updates include references to the most recent cases, decisions and treaty negotiation developments, analysis of populist critiques of international trade law and analysis of new areas including digital trade and security exceptions.
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Institutional structure of the WTO: treaty-making, decision-making, and dispute settlement

Michael J. Trebilcock Joel Trachtman


In initial negotiations after World War II for the creation of a multilateral trading system, negotiating countries failed to adopt the Havana Charter, which would have led to the creation of a comprehensive International Trade Organization (ITO), as a partner to the World Bank and IMF. The ITO never came into existence but the GATT, as a provisional agreement intended to preserve the tariff reduction commitments of the parties until the establishment of the ITO, by default became a permanent framework for the multilateral trading system. It established an anaemic institutional structure that member countries elaborated over time.

The WTO, established in 1995 to serve as an umbrella organization that includes the GATT, serves as a forum for negotiation and treaty revision over time, as a locus for quasi-legislative decision-making, and as a forum for dispute settlement regarding the WTO agreements. Treaty revision generally requires unanimity, although it is possible to make plurilateral agreements within the WTO system, and it is theoretically possible that amendments to the WTO treaty could be implemented without unanimity. Decision-making also is formally permitted without unanimity, but as a matter of practice it requires consensus, meaning that no member objects. Dispute settlement was revised significantly at the establishment of the WTO to provide that adjudicative decisions would attain legal effect unless a consensus is established to deny legal effect – the reverse of the previous rule.

The governance structure of the WTO system comprises the Ministerial Conference, which meets every two years,...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.