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The topology of the worldwide network of reciprocal trade agreements is evolving in ways that defy conventional wisdom. It is at odds with the triad hypothesis, that is, a view of the world consisting of three mutually isolated major blocs, structured in a hub and spoke fashion - Americas with US as the hub, Europe with European Union as the hub and Asia with Japan as the hub. Moreover, many new agreements, traditionally called ‘regional’, are actually inter-regional. In order to make sense of these developments, we charted the evolution of the network using social network analysis and arrived at a new perspective on its topology.


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Journal of International Business and Economics