Trade Policy and Negotiations

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Trade policies and practices of rich countries and, increasingly, the large, emerging markets have important implications for the development agenda. CGD’s research in this area examines how these policies affect trade opportunities for developing countries and what that means for growth and poverty alleviation in those countries. A particular focus is what the shift from multilateralism to regional and bilateral trade negotiations means for smaller, poorer, and more vulnerable members of the international system.

The trade and investment architecture has become more complex over the past 20 years. New trade deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), if completed and implemented will cover a large portion of global trade and investment. 

Unlike multilateral agreements, richer partners usually set the terms of regional and bilateral agreements. While trade can be an important tool to create jobs and reduce poverty in poorer countries, major provisions in these “mega-regional” agreements often ignore developing country interests. Therefore, a big concern for developing countries that are not party to these agreements is that they could undermine the WTO’s role in setting the rules of trade. CGD’s analysis examines the implications of these negotiations for the global trading system, and suggests ways that policymakers can mitigate the negative effects for developing countries.