The world appears to be breaking up into three regional trading blocs. But the terms of engagement for each bloc vary widely. And where does the WTO fit in?
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is 'alive and functioning' says Dr Vincent Cable, director of International Economics at Chatham House. Yet, in the past two years, there have been a series of dramatic new initiatives to try and create regional free trade areas (FTAs) in North America and the Asia-Pacific region. Do these initiatives herald the demise of an open world trading system and the transition to a more conflictual, tripolar system of trading blocs? Or can British companies have some faith in the durability of the multilateral principles embodied in the new World Trade Organisation (WTO)?