Publication Type: Journal Article
Source: Information & Security: An International Journal, Volume 48, Issue 2, p.185-198 (2021)
As global trade plummeted during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, multilateral institutions like the World Trade Organization (WTO) face increased pressure to remain relevant to their founding principles. After the Trade for Peace initiative was launched in 2017, the WTO has made the inclusion of conflict-affected and fragile states one of its priorities. The rationale that WTO accession serves as a transformational moment for these countries and as a means of securing a place in global trade was highlighted in the first “Trade for Peace Week” event organized by the WTO late in 2020. This paper analyses the narratives and frames used to link trade with peace of select sessions from this event. It finds that narratives of trade and peace complicated by framing actions. While improving trade access among fragile and conflict-affected and fragile states is increasingly hard to label as a technical fix, the processes to implement trade governance by engaging political actors reveals both the adoption of WTO narratives, but also revealing its limitations to address problems external to the aspiring member states themselves.