The established order of things in international trade, the world we have been comfortable with for decades, has been shattered. This is often laid at Donald Trump’s door, given his disdain for the World Trade Organization (WTO) and relish for unilateral actions like tariff surcharges. In reality, the global trading system was in trouble before Trump’s arrival on the scene. He and Robert Lighthizer, his spear-carrier as U.S. Trade Representative, have just been the instruments of disruption, bringing all of the inadequacies and shortcomings of the WTO system to the forefront.
Trade agreements—whether multilateral ones through the WTO, plurilateral ones such as the CPTPP, or bilateral agreements between two nations—represent the foundational vehicle through which nations remove trade barriers and deepen trade linkages. This category includes a wide array of GTIPA-member reports examining trade agreements their nations have implemented.