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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

International Trade at a Triple Crossroads

P. 183-200.

During the last decade, international trade has undergone many shocks of different kinds that have dramatically changed the nature of trade itself. Now international trade has come to a triple crossroads.

First, international trade had grown at a higher rate than GDP for many decades, a trend that was interrupted by the global financial and economic crisis in 2010. The recent study of the IMF (2016) cast doubt on whether trade would remain a driving engine of the world economy. It is also unclear how digital technologies might change the features of world trade. Second, the leading nations have responded to the crisis by imposing massive trade restrictions (that the G20 had initially managed to avoid). As a result, the multilateral system of trade regulation has been plunged into a deep crisis.

Finally, global governance in trade itself is at a crossroads, with nationalistic feelings on the rise and the threat looming of widening trade wars. Worse, it remains unclear whether this situation will stabilise any time soon.