Economic Statecraft in the 21st Century: Implications for the Future of the Global Trade Regime

By Vinod K. Aggarwal and Andrew W. Reddie

World Trade Review, 2021

This article introduces a special issue that examines the effects of strategic competition on the future of the global trade regime. We argue that traditional work in economics and the current set-up of global economic regimes ignores economic statecraft as a key element in understanding trade conflict. Specifically, we outline three examples of contemporary economic statecraft – industrial policy, trade restrictions, and new investment rules – that have been used to block foreign direct investment on the basis of national security claims. Based on this analysis, we explore how the WTO and other economic regimes might address the global economic governance of economic statecraft. In concluding, we outline the theoretical and empirical work in the subsequent case studies that examine the use of economic statecraft in the United States, China, India, Japan, and South Korea.

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