Cvr: Trade in the 21st Century


Trade in the 21st Century

Back to the Past?

Bernard M. Hoekman, Ernesto Zedillo
Release Date: January 19, 2021

Despite troubled trade negotiations, global trade—and trade policy—will thrive in the twenty-first century, but with a bow to the past.

Is the multilateral trading order of the twentieth century a historical artifact?

Was the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1995 the high point of multilateral cooperation on trade? This new volume, edited by Bernard M. Hoekman and Ernesto Zedillo, assesses the relevance of the WTO in the context of the rise of China and the United States’ turn toward unilateral protectionism.

The contributors adopt a historical perspective to discuss changes in global trade policy trends, adducing lessons from the past to help understand current trade tensions. Topics include responses to U.S. protectionism under the Trump administration, the policy dimensions of trade in services and the rise of the digital economy, how to strengthen the WTO to better negotiate new rules of the game and adjudicate disputes, managing China’s integration into the global trade system, and the implications of global value chains for economic development policies.

By reflecting on past episodes of protectionism and how they were resolved, Trade in the 21st Century provides both context and guidance on how trade challenges can be addressed in the coming decades.

Praise for Trade in the 21st Century

“At a time when protectionism is breaking out worldwide and we need to fight it to save globalized trade from being undermined, we need heroes to inspire us. Patrick Messerlin, who indulged in a solitary fight against French protectionists, is just such a hero. This volume, written by many admirers to celebrate his achievements, shows why.”
—Jagdish Bhagwati, University Professor, Columbia University; author of In Defense of Globalization

“The contributors to this compendium offer a master class on trade. Given the despair over the dismal state of world trade, this volume could have been a requiem for the lost era of free trade. But trade policy experts writing in this volume not only diagnose what went wrong, they present a hopeful roadmap, persuasively showing how to begin a painful return from self-destructive protectionism and resuscitate multilateral cooperation.”
—Nayan Chanda, founding editor, YaleGlobal; former editor of Far Eastern Economic Review

“At a time when the international trading system is under threat, this book is a significant contribution. While the world may be weary of speculating on the near- and longer-term trade posture of the United States, it remains inescapably important. If you want to understand what has transpired in U.S. trade policy—rational and irrational—read this book!”
—Merit E. Janow, dean, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

“The World Trade Organization and the multilateral trading regime could soon become relics of the past. The authors of this well-timed volume explain why and how this must be avoided.”
—André Sapir, professor, Université libre de Bruxelles; senior fellow, Bruegel; and former economic adviser to the president of the European Commission


Bernard M. Hoekman is professor and director of the global economics research area at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute, Florence, Italy, where he also serves as the dean of external relations.

Ernesto Zedillo is director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, and a professor of international economics and politics at Yale University. He was president of Mexico from 1994 to 2000.

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