• Lecture
  • Related Materials

Ms. Gabrielle Marceau
Counsellor
Office of the Director General
World Trade Organization
Associate Professor, Faculty of Law
University of Geneva

Biography Biography in PDF

International Economic Law
World Trade Organization
The General Basic Legal Principles
that Underpin the
International Trading System
(The Basic Legal Principles of the WTO)
This lecture provides an overview of the basic legal principles that underpin the multilateral trade system that existed under the GATT of 1947 and that continue to be an integral part of the WTO. It reviews from an historical perspective, the main market access obligations imposed on WTO Members and the situations in which WTO Members are allowed to set aside those obligations to safeguard their domestic markets or to protect their environment, i.e. when giving priority to policies other than trade.  Finally, it very briefly describes the basic disciplines covering dumping by enterprises and subsidies to ensure undistorted competition.  This overview lecture is the first of a series of more technical presentations on specific sets of WTO disciplines.

Video | Audio
(65 minutes)
International Economic Law
World Trade Organization
The General Basic Legal Principles that Underpin the International Trading System
(The Basic Legal Principles of the WTO)
A. Legal Instruments
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, Geneva, 30 October 1947, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 55, p. 187.

Havana Charter for an International Trade Organization, Havana, 24 March 1948, United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment, Final Act and Related Documents, E/CONF.2/78, United Nations publication, Sales No. 1948.

Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization (with final act, annexes and protocol), Marrakesh, 15 April 1994, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1867, p. 3.
B. Documents
Report of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade Panel, “Thailand –Restrictions on Importation of and Internal Taxes on Cigarettes” (DS10/R – 37S/200, 7 November 1990).

Legal Structure of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization.

C. Additional References