Searching Bilateral and Regional Trade Agreements
The search index includes all of the bilateral and regional trade agreements included on this site, along with their various Annexes, Protocols, etc.
To search, just enter your search terms, and click on the search button. Your search terms will be highlighted in the retrieved documents (explanation of hit highlighting).
All documents are in Portable Document Format (PDF). To view them, you will need the free Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded from Adobe.
If you have any questions about how to use this search index, feel free to contact us.
The default setting on the WorldTradeLaw.net search index is boolean searching. A boolean search request consists of a group of words or phrases linked by connectors such as and, or and w/ that indicate the relationship between them. Here are some examples:
Searches for the phrase "national treatment"
necessary and environment
Only documents with both "necessary" and "environment" will be retrieved
national treatment and GATT
Both the phrase "national treatment" and the word "GATT" must be present
GATT or GATS
Documents with either "GATT" or "GATS" will be retrieved
contingent w/5 export performance
"Contingent" must occur within 5 words of the phrase "export performance"
Both "export" and "contingent" must occur within 10 words of "subsidy"
If you use more than one connector, you should use parentheses to indicate precisely what you want to search for. For example, goods and services or products could mean (goods and services) or products, or it could mean goods and (products or services).
Search terms may include the following special characters:
Matches any single character. Example: appl? matches apply and apple.
Matches any number of characters. Examples: appl* matches apply and application; like product* matches like product and like products; protection* matches protection and protectionism; Article III* matches Article III:1, Article III:2, Article III:4, etc.
Stemming. Examples: apply~ matches apply, applies, applied; like product~ matches like product and like products
Fuzzy search. Example: fa%vour matches favour, favor.
Synonym search. Example: fast& matches quick.
Stemming, fuzzy and synonym searches may also be utilized by selecting these options from the search page on the left of the screen. When one of these options is selected, it applies to all of the search terms.
Each of the search terms you enter will be highlighted in the found documents. To move between highlighted hits, use these buttons on the Adobe toolbar: Note that each time you press one of these buttons, you will be taken to the next (or preceding) page on which a hit appears, rather than moving to the next (or preceding) highlighted hit. In some cases where there are multiple highlighted hits on a particular page, there may be highlighted terms that are outside of the viewing area when that page is initially displayed. As a result, it is important to scroll down to the bottom of each retrieved page to ensure that you see all of the highlighted hits on that page.
In addition, on the search results page, the found documents are ranked by the number of hits. Note that for phrase searches (e.g., "national treatment"), the number of hits is calculated based on the total number of words rather than the number of times the phrase appears. Thus, for example, one instance of the phrase "national treatment" counts as two hits.
Special Hit Highlighting Note for Adobe 9 Users
In version 9 of Adobe Acrobat (and the Adobe Reader), it may be necessary to change Adobe's default settings in order to make hit highlighting work properly. If the Adobe toolbar buttons do not appear when you open a document from the search results, you will need to change the Adobe settings as follows. In Adobe, go to Edit > Preferences > Search, and select the box titled "Enable Search Highlights from External Highlight Server." Then restart your browser. Hit highlighting should now work. Please contact us with any problems related to this issue.
You do not need to use any special punctuation or commands to search for a phrase. Simply enter the phrase the way it ordinarily appears. You can use a phrase anywhere in a search request. Example:
regulation w/5 national treatment
A search word can contain the wildcard characters * and ?. A ? in a word matches any single character, and a * matches any number of characters. The wildcard characters can be in any position in a word. For example:
appl* would match apple, application, etc.
*cipl* would match principle, participle, etc.
appl? would match apply and apple but not apples.
ap*ed would match applied, approved, etc.
Use of the * wildcard character near the beginning of a word will slow searches somewhat.
Searching "NOT", "AND", "TO", "CONTAINS", and "OR" as Search Terms
The search engine treats the above-listed words as connector words to be used in formulating searches, and therefore will not search for these terms when they are entered in the normal manner. To search these terms, simply add a "~" after the term, as follows:
Fuzzy searching will find a word even if it is misspelled. Although it is unlikely that words in these reports will be misspelled, the fuzzy searching option may be useful due to the different English spellings used in different parts of the world. For example, some people use "favor" and others use "favour." Similarly, some use "organization" and others use "organisation," or "program" as opposed to "programme." As a result, depending on the people working on a particular case, WTO reports sometimes use different spellings for the same word. (To illustrate this, do a search of Appellate Body reports for the word "organisation." Generally, this word is spelled by the Appellate Body as "organization," but there are several instances where "organisation" was used.) Fuzzy searching can deal with this problem.
There are two ways to add fuzziness to searches:
Word must begin with fa and have at most one difference between it and favour.
Word must begin with fav and have at most two differences between it and favour.
Stemming extends a search to cover grammatical variations on a word. For example, a search for favour would also find favourable. A search for applied would also find applying, applies, and apply. There are two ways to add stemming to your searches:
Certain fields in the report files are part of the index. Currently, the only field that is searchable is the Title field. Thus, you could search for:
Title contains Japan
This search would pull up all reports with Japan in the short version we have assigned as the dispute title. We are in the process of adding additional fields.
Use the AND connector in a search request to connect two expressions, both of which must be found in any document retrieved. For example:
national treatment and like products would retrieve any document that contained both of these phrases.
(national or treatment) and (like w/5 products) would retrieve any document that (1) contained either national OR treatment, AND (2) contained like within 5 words of products.
Use the OR connector in a search request to connect two expressions, at least one of which must be found in any document retrieved. For example, like products or substitutable products would retrieve any document that contained like products, substitutable products, or both.
Use the W/N connector in a search request to specify that one word or phrase must occur within N words of the other. For example, export w/5 contingent would retrieve any document that contained export within 5 words of contingent. The following are examples of search requests using W/N:
(export or contingent) w/10 subsidy
(export w/5 contingent) w/10 subsidy
(export and contingent) w/10 subsidy
Some types of complex expressions using the W/N connector will produce ambiguous results and should not be used. The following are examples of ambiguous search requests:
(goods and services) w/10 (products and like)
(goods w/10 services) w/10 (products and like)
In general, at least one of the two expressions connected by W/N must be a single word or phrase or a group of words and phrases connected by OR. Example:
(goods and services) w/10 (products or like)
(goods and search) w/10 like products
The search engine uses two built in search words to mark the beginning and end of a file: xfirstword and xlastword. The terms are useful if you want to limit a search to the beginning or end of a file. For example, goods w/10 xlastword would search for goods within 10 words of the end of a document.
Use NOT in front of any search expression to reverse its meaning. This allows you to exclude documents from a search. Example:
like products and not anti-dumping
NOT standing alone can be the start of a search request. For example, not GATS would retrieve all documents that did not contain GATS.
If NOT is not the first connector in a request, you need to use either AND or OR with NOT:
national or not treatment
not (national w/5 treatment)
The NOT W/ ("not within") operator allows you to search for a word or phrase not in association with another word or phrase. Example:
national not w/20 treatment
Unlike the W/ operator, NOT W/ is not symmetrical. That is, national not w/20 treatment is not the same as treatment not w/20 national. In the national not w/20 treatment request, the search engine searches for national and excludes cases where national is too close to treatment. In the treatment not w/20 national request, the search engine searches for treatment and excludes cases where treatment is too close to national.
Synonym searching finds synonyms of a word in a search request. For example, a search for fast would also find quick. You can enable synonym searching for all words in a request or you can enable synonym searching selectively by adding the & character after certain words in a request. Example: fast& w/5 search.
The effect of a synonym search depends on the type of synonym expansion requested on the search form. The search engine can expand synonyms using only user-defined synonym sets, using synonyms from the search engine's built-in thesaurus, or using synonyms and related words (such as antonyms, related categories, etc.) from the thesaurus.