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This paper explores how far Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) have strengthened or weakened global governance of the trading system. The authors open with an analysis of the altered political and economic context within which countries have come, in recent years, to assign a new importance to regional and bilateral trade agreements in their trade policies. They then consider each of the main provisions included in FTAs and comment on how these may separately affect the management of trade relations. They conclude with some observations of the broader trends affecting global governance that are associated with the spread of trade agreements as a whole.
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