Toward a Bipolar Trading Order? China vs. the US



About the Seminar

Global trade has rapidly expanded since the end of the Second World War, led by negotiations in the 1947 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Yet since 1995, GATT’s successor organization, the World Trade Organization (WTO), has faced severe difficulties. The Doha Round, initiated in 2001 under WTO auspices, has failed to come to fruition. Countries have increasingly sought alternatives, including bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs), multilateral regional accords, and more recently, so called mega-FTAs that link countries across regions. Three prominent mega FTA’s are the recently concluded Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in Asia, and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the U.S. and EU. The U.S has withdrawn from TPP, but now intends to pursue bilateral FTAs and has aggressively undertaken unilateral trade measures. Meanwhile, China has promoted its One Belt, One Road Initiative as well as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Are China and the U.S. now at loggerheads and are we on the verge of a trade war? Are there now two distinct competing visions of a new global economic order?

About the Speaker

Vinod K Aggarwal is Travers Family Senior Faculty Fellow and Professor in the Travers Department of Political Science, Affiliated Professor at the Haas School of Business, and Director of the Berkeley Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Study Center (BASC) at the University of California at Berkeley. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the journal Business and Politics, and Chair of the U.S. Consortium of APEC Study Centers. He has held fellowships from the Brookings Institution, Rockefeller Foundation, Council on Foreign Relations, East-West Center, Woodrow Wilson Center, and was a Japan Foundation Abe Fellow. Dr Aggarwal consults regularly with multinational corporations and governments on strategy, trade policy, and international negotiations. He is the author or editor of 21 books, with his most recent book titled Responding to the Rise of China. He has also published over 120 articles and book chapters. His current research examines comparative regionalism in Europe, North America, and Asia, comparative industrial policy in cybersecurity, disaster management, and the political economy of great power competition. Dr Aggarwal received his B.A. from the University of Michigan and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University.

For registration, please fill in this form and email to by 4 June 2018.


Jun 05 2018


10:00 am - 11:30 am


ISEAS Seminar Room 2