The Liberal Trading Order Under Assault: A US Perspective

Vinod K. Aggarwal

Global Asia, 2016

Given the hotly contested US presidential election and the surprising victory of Donald Trump, it is easy to lose sight of the broader challenges to the US-promoted post-Second World War economic order. these come from systemic changes, American domestic political conflicts and a rethinking of the ideological consensus around the benefits of free trade.

After 14 years of fruitless, contested negotiations, members essentially terminated the Doha Round of the World trade organization (WTO) in December 2015. Instead, countries have increasingly focused on bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs), sectoral agreements, regional accords, and more recently so-called minilateral mega-FtAs. And yet, despite active US promotion of two of these mega-FtAs, the trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the transatlantic trade and investment Partnership (TTIP), neither appears to be on the verge of seeing the light of day. the problems in ratifying the TPP provide us with an early-warning indicator of the pressures driving US trade policy under a trump administration. the implications could well bring us to the “World without the West” identified by Barma, et al, in 2007.

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