Who are the key actors in international trade? How do they interact with one another, where does this interaction take place, and how has this changed over time? Who sets the rules of international trade, and what happens to those who break them? These are some of the key questions that underpin this module, which, at its heart, is an exploration of the nature, location, and operation of power in the contemporary global political economy.
Empirically, the module examines the trade strategies of several key actors in international trade, including the United States and the European Union. It also explores the phenomenon of the so-called ‘emerging powers’, and asks whether countries such as China, India and Brazil are challenging the fundamental ideals of the existing system or simply trying to make more room for themselves within it. Finally, the module examines how the World Trade Organisation has attempted to manage relations between its members, and with what level of success. Theoretically, the module considers the debate between protectionism and free trade in the context of overlapping national, regional, and global geo-economic strategies.