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TradeLab (TradeLab)


TradeLab is a community of professional trade and investment law experts who want to put trade and investment treaties to work for everyone.

Legal experts, negotiators and former diplomats compose TradeLab's network. TradeLab bridges the gap between civil society, small businesses and experts specialized in international trade and investment law.

How it works is that anyone can ask a legal information question in relation to WTO law, preferential trade, or bilateral investment treaties online through its website. Experts then answer the question for free.

TradeLab also works on more elaborate legal projects, often through law school university clinics, closely supervised by an established professor. They are also working on brokering paid legal projects, where an ad hoc legal team is composed to address an issue, tailor-made, of the highest quality but at a lower cost.

Negotiation Support General

Regional focus:

Global reach: TradeLab uses the internet and new technologies to connect government officials, members of civil society and businesses with top legal experts in the area of international investment law. TradeLab is a network, not a law firm.

Assistance criteria:

Users: no pre-conditions for the users.

Experts: must comply with rules on the exercise of the legal profession, conflict of interests and professional accountability.

Sector focus:

TradeLab does not focus on a particular sector, but TradeLab experts may be specialized/interested in specific economic sectors.

Collaboration with partners:

TradeLab works with different academic institutions, which provide crucial support in the form of trade and investment law clinics. TradeLab supports academic institutions in the creation and running of the clinics and provides them cases to work on.

Types of expertise:

  • Lawyers: TradeLab's core staff is composed of lawyers specialized in trade and investment law and by computer and ICT experts. A sample list of Tradelab’s certified experts is available on its website.
  • Negotiation strategy: TradeLab can help with the negotiation of international trade and investment law agreements by supporting new stakeholders and letting them contribute constructively to both, the civil society consultation phase and during negotiations. Additionally, TradeLab can work with government officials offering legal or training resources on negotiation strategy.
  • Economists are part of the TradeLab expert network and may work in a team with lawyers. They cannot provide legal assistance on their own.
  • Stakeholder engagement: A central part of TradeLab’s activities is giving a voice to government officials in developing countries, individual citizens, NGOs, trade associations, and small and medium-sized companies (SMEs).

Number of in-house experts:

Sixty resident staff and network members.

Length of involvement:

Short and medium term.

Fee/non-fee based support:

Non fee-based for initial advice and instructions.

Speed of response:

One or two days for Q&As.

Practical constraints:

Free expert only Q&A forum: Experts respond to questions posted online for free.

Elaborate legal projects: Law clinics can respond to more elaborate legal project for free and provide the opportunity to build ad-hoc teams with experts. 


Types of negotiation support

Setting the Legal & Policy Framework Stage:

Yes - Tradelab can assist with investment treaty policy formulation and reform of legal frameworks.

Contract Negotiation Stage:

Yes - Tradelab can help with negotiation strategy in relation to investment treaty disputes.

Implementation & Monitoring Stage:


Advancing Knowledge-Sharing and Management:


Provider Type:

Support Providers