Book chapter

World Trade Law (2015)

in: Oxford Research Encyclopedia of International Studies

Abstract

After World War II, a body of rules and institutions have emerged for the purpose of regulating global flows of goods and services. These are known as world trade law, classified under international economic law, an expanding body of transnational regulatory treaties and institutions. World trade law has evolved within the global trading system following the Second World War, beginning with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which came into force in 1948. The Most-Favored Nation and National Treatment principles are the most prominent principles that give world trade law its distinctive form. The World Trade Organization (WTO) provides a vast store of literature which covers the waterfront of legal and political issues that animate the global political economy of trade. The WTO's predecessor, the GATT, has also contributed extensively to the growing body of literature on world trade law. The WTO's inclusion of agreements on the liberalization of services, investment, and intellectual property have begun lively debates about the possible trajectories of governance in new issue areas, such as anti-dumping and intellectual property rights. In addition to the issues raised by the inclusion of many small economies in the institutions of global trade governance, the rise of world trade law has simultaneously highlighted the many areas of importance to national publics in developed economies where trade overlaps with social priorities.