This paper explains the main current developments effecting the structures and characteristics of international trade. These recent developments and changes in the way how trade occurs and what is traded cannot be explained with traditional trade theories. Despite a fundamental change in the global economic environment the suggestions for optimal economic policies based on the conventional theories are still forming the framework to discuss international trade policies or make recommendations for the appropriate trade regime or related international agreements. Based on a realistic empirically founded view new theoretical concepts and arguments need to be developed that lead to a different optimal trade regime than what is conventionally preferred. The paper summarises the arguments for such a change to occur and initiates the overdue and practically relevant debate to develop such a trade regime.
Keywords: international trade, globalisation, managed trade, intra-industry trade, transnational corporations, TNCs, structuralism, developing economics, green economics, multinational corporations, MNCs, economic policy