The rise of global value chains (GVCs) as a key model for organizing global production coincided with important shifts in the international trade regime. These shifts included the quantitative expansion of the trade regime through an increase in the number of trade agreements and the number of states that are signatories to these agreements. They also included a qualitative shift in what is governed by the trade regime through the inclusion of issues such as investments, intellectual property and regulatory harmonization. This chapter argues that there is a structural relationship between these two shifts and that GVCs cannot be the dominant mode of production in the absence of an effective rules-based trade regime. This regime is needed to facilitate stable and predictable flows of goods and to provide a stable and predictable regulatory framework for the operations of GVC actors and for the capital and knowledge flows needed for the functioning of GVCs. Examining this relationship, the author argues, is crucial to unpacking the geography of GVCs and to predicting the implications of changing trade policies on the future of GVCs.