The publication replaces and updates "The Legal Texts: The Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations". It reflects all amendments and rectifications to the WTO agreements and its annexes effected or adopted up to September 2017.
The publication includes the new Trade Facilitation Agreement and the amended Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) as well as two plurilateral trade agreements applicable to WTO members party to them – the Agreement on Trade in Civil Aircraft and the Agreement on Government Procurement.
John Adank, Director of the WTO's Legal Affairs Division, noted that the new publication updates an earlier version, commonly known as the "Green Book", which had become a central reference book for WTO lawyers assisting members, WTO adjudicators and WTO Secretariat staff.
While most of the updated publication still reflects the results of the Uruguay Round of trade talks, the update went beyond just copying the existing texts. The Legal Affairs Division also went through an extensive effort to verify the consistency of the published texts with the treaty originals.
"This involved first and foremost a formidable research effort: accessing the originals and identifying the various amendments to these," John Adank said. "We also had to research the numerous procès-verbaux effecting rectifications to the authentic texts of the WTO agreements over the past two decades."
"Once the authentic texts and their amendments and rectifications were identified, we had to compare these with the electronic files for the updated publication," he added. "This entailed comparing a total of more than 1,000 pages in the three WTO languages."
The comparison served to verify the published texts against the originals. One result, Mr Adank said, is that readers can now clearly distinguish treaty footnotes proper from footnotes that appeared in the "Legal Texts" book but were merely of an editorial nature. The updated publication identifies all such editorial notes and contains several additional editorial notes that address relevant treaty developments concerning specific WTO agreements since 1994.
"The WTO Agreements" is co-published with Cambridge University Press. It is also available in French and Spanish.