From Spaghetti Bowl to Jigsaw Puzzle? Addressing the Disarray in the World Trade System

October 1, 2014

The rise of mega-regionals such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) suggests that the world trade system is fragmenting to the point it appears more like a jigsaw puzzle than a spaghetti bowl. There are both regional and global jigsaw puzzles to be solved—in that order—to clean up the world trade system. But is this even likely? The difficulties of free trade agreement (FTA) consolidation at the regional level are well known, while piecing together the blocs around the world to form a coherent whole is even more challenging.

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Topics: WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION (WTO) MULTILATERALISM

Agreements: REGIONAL COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP (RCEP) TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP (TPP)

Regions: EAST ASIA SOUTHEAST ASIA

Authors: JAYANT MENON

Publishing Institution: ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK

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