The sober reality is that the Trump administration forcefully and explicitly undermined multilateral economic cooperation over the past four years. The world is now facing two immediate and era-defining challenges in 2021: the global pandemic and the global recession, alongside the need for multilateral cooperation on climate and the environment.
Tackling these challenges will require constructive engagement of all the world’s largest economies. Nations that support multilateralism can help get America back to supporting, strengthening, and improving a fair rules-based trading system that provides good jobs along with raising living standards and prosperity for all. Although on the current trajectory the answer to that question seems destined to rely on bilateralism which is not the right way to achieve the necessary global response. There is a bigger, bolder, broader, more multilateral pathway to reinvigorated international economic cooperation.
In a recent paper, I had the privilege of co-authoring with leading trade experts Richard Baldwin, Chad Brown, Anabel Gonzalez, Tetsuya Watanabe and André Sapir, where we pulled together a plan outline. The detailed paper included two pillars: 1) working together and 2) formulating initiatives as ‘trade tracks’ in the broad portfolio of foreign policy and climate policy initiatives. You can read the full paper here.