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  • Publication Date: 03-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: OVER THE PAST YEAR, THE GLOBAL AND REGIONAL TRADE LANDSCAPE HAS BEEN CHALLENGED AS NEVER BEFORE. A growing number of people around the world are questioning the value of trade agreements, holding them accountable for slow wage growth, rising inequalities, and job losses. Exemplified by Brexit and the U.S. presidential election, a wave of anti-globalization has washed over the world. Further, global trade is slowing, and existing trade agreements have not kept pace with the changing nature of trade itself, owing to the increasingly important role of digital and services trades. But trade has been one of the strongest drivers behind global growth and stability, particularly in Asia. In the past quarter century, the number of trade agreements in the region has increased dramati- cally. At the same time, Asian countries experienced average annual growth rates nearly 3 percent higher after liberalizing their markets.1 The region’s openness has been a critical ingredient in spurring growth, creating jobs, and lifting millions out of poverty. Trade has also helped nations develop stronger ties, giving them a greater stake in one another’s economic success and reducing the likelihood of conflict. What the French philosopher Montesquieu wrote during the eighteenth century remains as relevant in the twenty-first: “Peace is a natural effect of trade.” 2
  • Topic: International Relations, International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus