As the standoff between China and the US continues, trade, technology and security are increasingly fused into a toxic, zero-sum mix with implications well beyond the trade sphere. Decoupling and blacklisting have put the two largest economies at loggerheads, with Europe and South East Asia caught in the middle. The merits of the multilateral rules-based trade order, and the institutions that underpin it, particularly the WTO, are increasingly being questioned. With trade becoming a weapon in a geopolitical battle, governments and businesses are left wondering how to avoid taking sides.
Yet elsewhere, trade integration is moving forward, fast and with disruptive effects. China’s Belt & Road project, and its Japanese and Indian counterparts are changing flows across the Eurasian continent, bringing Europe, East Asia and the places in between much closer together. New trade deals are coming online, and large regulatory blocs are vying to set new regional and global standards.
Meanwhile the patterns of globalisation are also changing as digital technologies redefine how and where products are made, shipped and consumed. The next wave of digitization and technological innovation will not just open new markets and connect producers and consumers in novel ways. It can also spark political competition. Besides, concerns about climate change and sustainability are causing publics to question dominant trade practices and their impact on the development agenda. Have the limits of global trade been reached, or is global trade simply evolving and becoming carbon light and data-heavy? And if so, what are the new rules of the road?
The Global Trade Series is a collaboration between AIG and the following international organizations with leading expertise on global trade: Georgetown Law, Institute of International Economic Law; Chatham House; the Clingendael Institute; the International Chamber of Commerce; the Delors Institute; the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, and the Bertelsmann Stiftung (Knowledge Partner).
Due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, the three events of the AIG Global Trade Series events scheduled to take place in Washington DC, Paris and Singapore have been postponed. Further information and new dates will be announced soon.
Meanwhile, a selection of articles on trade-related issues by experts from the GTS partner organizations will continue to appear here.
The Institute of International Economic Law (IIEL) is the focal point for the study of international economic law at
Georgetown Law, serving as a fulcrum point for legal and policy discussions in international trade, international financial regulation, international monetary affairs, transnational business and international tax. The IIEL was founded in 1999 by the late University Professor John H. Jackson, one of the founders of today’s GATT/WTO system. It is now directed by Agnes N. Williams Research Professor of Law Chris Brummer, who leads an array of accomplished faculty members to facilitate thoughtful and scholarly research and teaching, convene stakeholder meetings and conferences bringing together public and private sector leaders, and offer Executive Education on a broad range of subjects that concern the law of international economic activity. The Institute actively approaches these fields as interrelated and at times overlapping policy spheres that impact how law is devised, practiced and enforced.
Housed at Georgetown Law, with the largest array of courses in international economic law in the country, IIEL offers students, faculty, alumni and friends the opportunity to routinely interact with top scholars, policymakers, law firms, and think tanks. As part of a top research university, IIEL strives to make available unparalleled opportunities for learning and study based on its location in the heart of Washington DC, and longstanding connections with a variety of global institutions and organizations.
Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, is a world-leading policy institute based in London.
Its mission is to help governments and societies build a sustainably secure, prosperous and just world.
It engages governments, the private sector, civil society and its members in open debate and private discussions about the most significant developments in international affairs. Each year, the institute runs more than 300 private and public events – conferences, workshops and roundtables – in London and internationally with partners. Its convening power attracts world leaders and the best analysts in their respective fields from across the globe.
Its research work focuses on independent and rigorous analysis of critical global, regional and country-specific challenges and opportunities.
ICC is the world’s largest business organization representing more than 45 million companies, employing 1 billion people in over 100 countries. ICC’s core mission is to make business work for everyone, every day, everywhere. Through a unique mix of advocacy, solutions and standard setting, we promote international trade, responsible business conduct and a global approach to regulation, in addition to providing market-leading dispute resolution services. Our members include many of the world’s leading companies, SMEs, business associations and local chambers of commerce.
ICC United Kingdom is the representative office of ICC in the UK and represents the voice of UK companies at intergovernmental level.
ICC France is the representative office of ICC in France and represents the voice of French companies at intergovernmental level. Its more than 150 members include many of the French leading companies, business associations and local chambers of commerce. ICC France has ten working commissions composed by representatives of member companies and organizations who are experts in their fields. Those commissions mirror the ICC international commissions in almost every theme.
Clingendael - the Netherlands Institute of International Relations - is the leading Dutch think-tank and academy for international relations. Its research, training and public debate inspires and equips societies, businesses and governments to encourage a secure, sustainable, prosperous and just world. Clingendael Research provides independent, interdisciplinary, evidence-based and policy-relevant recommendations about urgent international issues. Clingendael analyses the most important trends and issues in international environments and policy, evaluates international policy, studies opinions concerning and buy-in for international policy, develops new ideas and approaches to clarifying international developments, and provides advice on how to approach critical international issues.
The Jacques Delors Institute (JDI) is a European think tank founded in 1996 by Jacques Delors, former President of the European Commission. Its mission is to conduct independent research and to develop policy proposals both for Europe’s decision-makers and for a broader audience, in view of contributing to debates on the European integration. It promotes the exchange of ideas through the organisation of experts’ seminars and public conferences convening European leaders. Areas of expertise rang from trade policy, energy policy, EU budget, labour and social policies, European institutions and governance, European identity. The Institute is based in Paris and its team works closely with the Jacques Delors Centre (Hertie School of Governance) in Berlin founded in 2014, and the Europe – Jacques Delors created in Brussels in 2020. https://institutdelors.eu/en/
Part of the National University of Singapore, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy was established in 2004 with the mission of educating and inspiring current and future generations of leaders to raise the standards of governance in Asia, improve the lives of its people and contribute to the transformation of the region. With over 2,900 alumni spanning 90 countries, the School’s unique Asian focus allows students to form a network of future leaders and experience public policy education in a distinctively global environment. In addition to Masters and PhD programmes, the LKYSPP offers high quality customised Executive Programmes that cater to the needs of time-constrained senior managers and professionals, with the aim of delivering creative solutions to real management and leadership challenges. The School has a number of research centres and institutes that contribute both to scholarly inquiry as well as policymaking, and frequently plays host to distinguished speakers and visiting scholars. For more information about the School, visit www.lkyspp.nus.edu.sg.
Bertelsmann Stiftung is a private German non-profit and non-partisan think tank founded in 1977 by Reinhard Mohn. With over 380 employees and more than 70 projects, it offers analysis and solutions in a wide array of policy fields, ranging from economic policy to education, healthcare, culture and many more. The Megatrends program of the Stiftung analyses demographic change, digitalization and globalization in conjunction. The Global Economic Dynamics project, focusing on the megatrend “globalization”, analyses developments in the world economy and contributes to updating the architecture of global trade governance. It has made a series of recommendations on the reform of the World Trade Organization. More information is available on www.ged-project.com.