The appropriate rules and customs for handling trade between countries are defined by the International Trade Law. However, as trade between private sectors, it is also used in legal writings which are not right. This branch of law is now an independent field of study as most governments have become part of the world trade, as members of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Since the transaction between private sectors of different countries is an important part of the WTO activities, this latter branch of law is now a very important part of the academic works and is under study in many universities across the world.


Trade in goods


The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade(GATT) has been the backbone of international trade law since 1948 after the charter for international trade had been agreed upon in Havana. It contains rules relating to “unfair” trading practices — dumping and subsidies. Many things impacted GATT like the Uruguay Round and the North American Free Trade Agreement.


In 1994 the World Trade Organization (WTO) was established to take the place of the GATT. This is because the GATT was meant to be a temporary fix to trade issues, and the founders hoped for something more concrete. It took many years for this to come about however, because of the lack of money. The British Economy was in crisis and there was not much backing from congress to pass the new agreement.


The idea of these agreements ( WTO and GATT was to create an equal field for all countries in trade. This way all countries got something of equal value out of the trade. This was a difficult thing to do since every country has a different economy size. This led to the Trade Expansion act of 1962.


Trade and intellectual property


The World Trade Organization Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement required signatory nations to raise intellectual property rights (also known as intellectual monopoly privileges). This arguably has had a negative impact on access to essential medicines in some nations.


Cross-border transactions


Cross-border operations are subject to taxation by more than one country. Commercial activity that occurs among several jurisdictions or countries is called a cross-border transaction. Those involved in any international business development or international trade should be knowledgeable in tax law, as every country enforces different laws on foreign businesses. International tax planning ensures that cross-border businesses stay tax compliant and avoid or lessen double taxation.


Dispute settlement


Most prominent in the area of dispute settlement in international trade law is the WTO dispute settlement system. The WTO dispute settlement body is operational since 1995 and has been very active since then with 369 cases in the time between 1 January 1995 and 1 December 2007.Nearly a quarter of disputes reached an amicable solution, in other cases the parties to the dispute resorted to adjudication. The WTO dispute settlement body has exclusive and compulsory jurisdiction over disputes on WTO law (Article 23.1 Dispute Settlement Understanding.