Unilateral, Regional, and Multilateral: which pattern of trade regulation to prefer?

Russia - 19 November 2012

Economic crisis of 2008-2009 promoted awareness of the necessity to transform in particular the contemporary international trading system.  With respect to trade policies the proposals aiming at achieving of more sustainable and efficient regulatory framework in most cases do not envisage any expansion of protectionism. In contrast to this, they rather focus on various aspects of trade liberalization trying to design its specific form, which would result in transactions as close to the ideal pattern of “win-win game” as possible. 
One could sensibly argue that there are three different strategies to liberalize trade – a) unilateral liberalization, b) regional liberalization, and c) multilateral (global) liberalization. Their interrelation is an ambivalent one. Under the circumstances national regulators face dual challenge, namely, to select dominant strategy and to implement it in a way to minimize the negative impact of abovementioned alternativeness.