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This study provides an overview of how the World Trade Organization rules relate to international standards, that is, standards propounded by some international entity. The topic of standards is a cross-cutting issue in the WTO because rules regarding international standards appear in several of the covered WTO agreements. The paper contains several parts. Part I of the paper explores the meaning of the term international standard and adopts a broad definition for analytical purposes. Part II introduces a typology for international standards. Part III discusses why international standards are important to economic development. Part IV examines some of the key WTO provisions regarding international standards. Part V looks at how WTO intergovernmental committees and bodies have implemented these provisions during the first several years of the WTO. Part VI describes some of the key standard-setting organizations that directly affect the WTO.

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GWU Law School, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 133

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