WTO news: what’s been happening in the WTO


20 January 1997

Wto agreements and commitments on cd-rom

Software allows convenient analysis of 30,000 pages of data.
The World Trade Organization has released the first ever CD-ROM containing all the agreements of the Uruguay Round, together with the commitments on goods and services made by the bulk of the world's trading nations _ all of this in a form that makes the information easy to obtain and to analyze.

The CD-ROM has two unique features. Its 104 megabytes contain the equivalent of more than 30,000 pages of legal texts and tables of commitments _ over 30 volumes of printed documents representing the complete results of the Uruguay Round of trade talks _ for the first time all on a single disk. And the CD-ROM includes software allowing the user to search for information and to compare various countries' commitments to open or keep open their markets for specific goods or services. Text can be read in any of the three official WTO languages, English, French and Spanish (although the language used in menus, commands and on-line Help depends on the language of the Windows version that the user is operating).

This new product is part of the WTO's effort to make information and data related to the Uruguay Round agreements more easily accessible for a range of users. It is designed for lawyers, government officials, trade consultants, NGO workers, academic researchers, students, journalists and anyone else needing quick and simple access to details of the agreements. The disk covers all the legal texts negotiated in the round, various decisions, understandings and declarations related to the agreements, and the schedules of market-opening commitments that more than 100 countries made on thousands of products and services.

The 1986-94 Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations led to the biggest reform of the world trading system in almost half a century. One of the outcomes was the creation of the World Trade Organization. The negotiations also brought about the first international trade rules for services and for intellectual property, and important changes in the way international trade disputes are settled.


The data are divided into three sections:

* The legal texts governing trade in goods, services and trade-related aspects of intellectual property, and details of the new WTO dispute settlement mechanism; together with related ministerial decisions. Hyper-text allows the user to jump to related articles, agreements, annexes, decisions, understandings, footnotes and abbreviations with a simple mouse click.

* Goods commitments, containing almost 25,000 pages of schedules from 117 countries classified according to the international Harmonized System Nomenclature (standardised for up to six digits). Software packaged with the data allows information to be selected and compared for a variety of purposes.

* Services commitments and exemptions, representing nearly 3,000 pages of 122 specific commitments and 69 exemption lists, presented as tables for convenient comparison between countries. This section also has software for searching and for making comparisons.

The software includes one general "application" software for operating the CD-ROM as a whole, and sub-applications for each of the three data sections. The sub-applications offer a range of facilities and options. Information on how to operate these is available in on-line Help, also available in English, French or Spanish _ the exact choice depending on the language of the user's version of Windows).

Technical requirements: PC with 80486 processor or higher. Windows 3.1 or higher. 2 MB RAM and 1 MB free disk space or more. Graphics adapter, mouse and printer supported by Windows. CD-ROM drive.

Price:  SF 1,000 for single user, SF 2,000 for LAN licence

Available from:

WTO Publications, World Trade Organization,
Centre William Rappard, Rue de Lausanne 154,
CH-1211 Geneva 21, Switzerland.
Tel: (41) (+22) 739 52 08 or 739 53 08.
Fax: (41) (+22) 739 57 92
e-mail: [email protected]
Web site: http://www.wto.org

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