Asan Plenum

Session: Session 3
Date/Time: April 24, 2019 / 13:30-15:00


Asif Hasan Qureshi, Korea University

Ahn Dukgeun, Seoul National University
Fukagawa Yukiko, Waseda University
Patrick Messerlin, Science Po
Tami E. Overby, McLarty Associates


Panel Description
Today’s multilateral trading system faces serious challenges from the proliferation of preferential trade deals and protectionist trade policies. The U.S. renegotiated NAFTA and the KORUS FTA and is working on new bilateral trade deals with China, the EU, and Japan. The Trump administration is threatening to exit the WTO and levy tariffs against allies. The administration prioritizes “fair trade” over free trade. Some fear that a weakened international economic order would negatively impact the world economy. Others, however, welcome such a move, observing that the WTO has failed to deal effectively with unfair trade practices, such as subsidies through state-owned enterprises, forced technology transfer, and intellectual property rights violations. Is the international economic order shifting its focus from free trade to fair trade? Will preferential trade agreements serve as a stepping stone or a stumbling block to global trade liberalization? Will the trend of trade regionalization grow stronger, or will there be an eventual return to broader multilateralism? What kind of trade policy should South Korea adopt in the face of the declining multilateral trading system?