How to obtain documents

Documents are distributed in both electronic format and on paper. Dissemination procedures vary according to the format required.

Electronic document distribution

All official documents for which an electronic distribution is required are posted in Documents online  (official documents are those which bear a symbol). The inclusion of documents in this application is determined by the status assigned to them at the time of posting - either restricted (for Members only) or unrestricted (for everybody):

  • Members can retrieve, consult and download official documents on the Members' site (password-protected);

  • Observers can access restricted documents from the same site; a password-protected access enabling them to retrieve only those document series to which they have an entitlement is in operation;

  • the general public can retrieve and download all unrestricted and derestricted official documents from Documents online on the WTO Internet site.

Paper document distribution

Unless instruction is given to the contrary, all official documents issued are circulated on paper to authorized recipients. The Documents Reproduction and Distribution Section (DRDS), a part of the Language Services and Documentation Division, is responsible for the paper dissemination of WTO documents and maintains official mailing lists of all subscribers (Member, Observer and other), together with information on the series that they are entitled to receive.

Mailing list procedures

To be included in a mailing list, the following procedures apply (for every category of user - Members, Observers, Organizations, Secretariat, Others):

New documents are distributed on a daily basis according to a structured and timely procedure; other types of distribution are determined by different priorities, including immediate temporary requirements.

Daily distribution

The daily distribution of documents comprises a number of dispatches to different subscriber groups:

  • Pigeon holes (CWR building, Geneva)
  • each afternoon, new documents are placed in the pigeon holes located in the Documents Centre - Offices 56/57/58 of the CWR building (+41227395032); this distribution is available to Members and Observers or Geneva-based organizations. Requests for the allocation of a pigeon hole should be directed to Office 33 of the CWR building (+41227395488/5076) - by letter, facsimile or e-mail.

  • International Organizations (Geneva)
  • each morning Geneva-based International Organizations receive the daily distribution of new documents to which they have an entitlement as an observer.

  • Priority distribution (Members/Observers)
  • the daily distribution each morning of new documents to Members and/or Observers who are subject to delays in postal delivery.

  • Postal distribution
  • two types of postal distribution are available:

    • the daily postal distribution each morning of new documents to all Members, Observers and Organizations located in Switzerland who have not requested the allocation of a pigeon hole;

    • the daily postal distribution each morning of new documents to all Members, Observers, Organizations and other subscribers located elsewhere in the world.

  • Public distribution
  • the daily distribution of new documents to authorized organizations, universities and companies/businesses.

  • Private distribution
  • the daily distribution to authorized individuals of selected new restricted documents.

Documents Centre

The Documents Centre is the focal point for Members, Observers, Organizations, Secretariat and Others (public) for obtaining official WTO documentation in paper form. The Centre is located on the ground floor of the CWR Building in offices 56/57/58 (Tel. +41227395032). It does not respond to individual requests for WTO publications; these should be directed to the Information and Media Relations Division (IMRD, Office 15 - ext. +41227395019).

The Centre is responsible for the following:

  • the dispatch of documents to Delegations via the pigeon holes;

  • the processing of ad hoc requests for additional copies of documents from Members, Observers, Organizations, Secretariat and Others (public), including WTO Publications

  • the supply of paper copies of documents which are incomplete in electronic form when they are posted in the Internet (offset)

  • assisting Members, Observers, Organizations, Secretariat and Others (public) in researching, identifying and acquiring specific WTO documents.

Document dispatching and request handling

Documents are dispatched daily as soon as they are received in the Documents Centre. Requests for individual documents can be made personally, in writing, by e-mail or by fax. Requestors are asked to complete a paper request form available in the Documents Centre reception. Documents are supplied in paper format from stock, usually within 24 hours. Documents may also be supplied to requestors as e-mail attachments or in facsimile format.