Professor Wolfgang Alschner has joined with the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) and UNCTAD, the UN’s main body on trade issues, to help create a new search engine that will help investors, traders, negotiators and policymakers navigate the complex world of international trade agreements.
As Professor Alschner writes in a blogpost, entitled “How technology can help navigate the trade law spaghetti bowl”, “a sizeable part of global trade and investment flows are governed by rules enshrined in free trade agreements and custom unions. These rules, however, can be surprisingly hard to find and complex to navigate. Databases on preferential trade agreements (PTAs) typically only have limited regional coverage or do not provide easy access to treaty full texts.” The new search engine, called the The RTA Exchange Agreement Text Search Tool, will use data collected by Professor Alschner and his colleagues at the UN to provide “access to close to 450 PTA texts and allows negotiators and analysts to quickly identify treaties of interest, browse their content and embark on a full text search.”
The collaboration also creates new opportunities for leveraging artificial intelligence to build new analytics that will make it easier for users to navigate the increasingly complex jungle of trade rules in PTAs.