Areas of Focus

Trade and global integration: the changing landscape

The integration of national economies into a global economic system has been one of the most important developments of the last century, resulting in a remarkable growth in trade between countries. Over the last two centuries, trade has completely transformed the global economy. Understanding this transformative process is important because trade has generated gains, but it has also had important distributional consequences.

AUWCL gathers a team of pre-eminent trade experts from the United States and around the world who often share their views in webinars, media or academic articles on the reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the dispute settlement system, the rise of nationalism on global trade, regional trade agreements, supply chains and the effects from the pandemic.

U.S. Trade Relations

US trade policy has changed significantly over the past few years. Unilateralism and the use of tariffs has been the drive of the US trade policy, instead of multilateralism and cooperation to global integration that has historically shaped the choices of the country for the past six decades. In this context, the trade war with China came to stay.

AUWCL professors and scholars follow closely the trade-related developments of US trade policy and trade relations directly from DC and are active stakeholders in this process.

Trade and Sustainable Development

Trade and Environment: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development identifies trade as essential for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction, describing it as an engine to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This view is reflected by other organizations like the United Nations (UN), and even the World Trade Organization (WTO), which in the 2016 UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development described trade’s ability to enhance a country’s income generating capacity as an essential prerequisite for achieving sustainable development.

Trade and Labor

Of all debates surrounding trade, none is more contentious than the one between trade and workers’ rights. Proponents of workers’ rights argue that trading nations should be held to strict labor standards, both for moral and economic self-interest reasons. Since the late 20th century, trade has played an important role in increasing economic growth. However, an increase in interdependence and openness can leave labor markets exposed to external shocks, with potentially catastrophic effects on employment, stability, and general welfare.

AUWCL professors and scholars have extensively written and engaged in public debates on trade and environment, and trade and labor.

Trade, Investment and Gender

The future of the international economic order is contingent on the ability of governments and the private sector to distribute the benefits of economic growth equally to all. The global economy suffers when women are excluded and are impeded from contributing to economic growth and development. Trade and investments negotiations and agreements are effective tools for raising awareness of gender-related concerns and the need for enforceable rules that can help remove barriers to women’s economic participation.

AUWCL experts believe that increased thoughtful engagement is needed from national governments and global institutions charged with global governance on this issue, and we are active voices in the international debate.

Trade for Peace

According to the speech of Ambassador Alan Wolff to our summer students in 2020, “trade for peace is a dominant theme for the present and not just a part of its remote history”. Montesquieu famously stated that “peace is the effect of trade,” showing how curiosity about the connection between peace and trade shares intellectual foundations with the modern state itself. Empirical studies on the effect of military conflict on international trade find, not surprisingly, that conflict between countries significantly reduces international trade.

AUWCL is committed in fostering the debate on trade and peace, and constantly remind the international community the reasons of the need of relevant international organization such as the United Nations (UN) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).