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Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

5. The Evolution of the Global Trade Regime  

Silke Trommer

This chapter details the history, politics, and recent trends and challenges of the multilateral trade system. The twentieth century witnessed a remarkable emergence of international institutions, and nowhere was their impact greater than in international trade. Following decades of depression and war, a global trading regime was initiated with the creation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1947, which expanded steadily in both scope and membership through the twentieth century and culminated in the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995. Underpinned by the philosophy that open markets and non-discriminatory trade policies promote the prosperity of all countries, and issued with a powerful dispute settlement mechanism, the WTO has been hailed as the most prominent example of cooperation between countries. At the same time, however, the WTO has been subject to internal and external criticism and now faces a number of difficulties.

Chapter

Cover International Relations and the European Union

8. The European Union as a Trade Power  

Sophie Meunier and Kalypso Nicolaïdis

Internal and external trade liberalization have together constituted the essence of European integration since the Treaty of Rome. Successive enlargements, along with the constant deepening of the single market, have turned the European Union (EU) into one of the world’s largest trade powers. The EU forms trade policy through a complex decision-making process, often contested politically, which allows it to speak on behalf of its members in international trade, and now investment, negotiations. This chapter argues that not only does the EU derive some inherent power from trade, but it has also long used trade as the backbone of its normative power, using its market access in order to obtain political concessions from its commercial partners. However, this role has been increasingly challenged by recent changes in the relative power and behaviour of the EU’s main trade partners and competitors, which have forced Europe to refocus its trade policy towards more traditional commercial objectives and to create new unilateral trade defence instruments. Through its goal of what is terms open strategic autonomy, the EU is trying to strike a delicate balance between remaining a force for liberalism and openness in the world while not being naive and taken advantage of. This chapter explores the determinants of the EU’s trade power and examines the contribution of trade policy to the power of Europe in the international system, both in the context of international trade agreements and in the broader framework of international relations.

Chapter

Cover Global Environmental Politics

10. Trade and the environment  

This chapter explores the complex and multifaceted relationship between international trade and environmental protection. The global trade regime's normative principles, legal rules, and real-world consequences often contradict environmental governance. For example, there is tension between trade and environmental governance with respect to the commercialisation of endangered species, export of hazardous wastes, emissions involved in transporting goods, and patentability of living organisms. However, there are also synergies, which enable trade liberalisation and environmental protection to reinforce one another. For example, trade forces were key drivers in the reduction of ozone-depleting substances and the affordability of pollution abatement technologies. The chapter explores these conflicts and synergies by first discussing the literature that examines the positive and negative impacts that trade has on the environment. It goes on to look at the trade dimensions of various environmental regimes, and then environmental dimensions of the trade regime, within both the World Trade Organization and preferential trade agreements.

Chapter

Cover International Relations Theories

5. Neoliberalism  

Jennifer Sterling-Folker

This chapter examines the neoliberalist argument that international institutions promote international cooperation. While neoliberalism acknowledges that cooperation can be difficult to achieve in anarchic conditions, it insists that institutions allow states to overcome a variety of collective action impediments. The central concern of neoliberal analysis is how institutions do so, and how they might be redesigned to more efficiently obtain cooperative outcomes. This chapter considers three questions that are relevant for understanding neoliberal contributions: How did neoliberalism emerge? What are the barriers to international cooperation? How does neoliberalism study international institutions? The chapter uses the World Trade Organization as a case study to illustrate the importance of institutional design for international free trade cooperation. Along the way, various concepts such as interdependence, hegemonic stability, hegemon, bargaining, defection, compliance, autonomy, and principal–agent theory are discussed, along with the game known as Prisoner’s Dilemma.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

3. The rise of modern international order  

George Lawson

This chapter examines the rise of modern international order. It begins with a discussion of international orders before the modern period, focusing on how trade and transport helped to link diverse parts of the world. It then considers debates about the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, along with nineteenth-century developments such as industrialization and imperialism. It also explores the main ideas that underpinned modern international order, the ‘shrinking of the planet’ that arose from the advent of new technologies, the emergence of intergovernmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations, and the advent of a radically unequal international order. The chapter concludes with case studies on the dual character of international law and imperialism in China.

Chapter

Cover The Politics of International Law

7. Global economic and trade governance  

This chapter addresses the intersection of international law and international politics as it relates to global trade. To study global economic governance is to study international law, international relations, and international political economy (IPE) all at once. The chapter begins with a brief introduction to IPE, a discipline which seeks to understand the workings of the global economy in its political context. It examines the relationship between economic globalization and state sovereignty, before turning to the construction of the postwar global economic order, with a focus on the Bretton Woods institutions. The postwar global economic order has often been described as ‘liberal’ by virtue of its underlying assumptions and the ideological convictions of its framers. Importantly, the postwar liberal order was built by, and for, the developed countries of the Global North-a fact that has informed critiques emanating from the developing countries of the Global South. The chapter then assesses global trade governance, analysing the structure, powers, and role of the World Trade Organization.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

2. The rise of modern international order  

George Lawson

This chapter examines the rise of modern international order. It begins with a discussion of international orders before the modern period, focusing on how trade and transport helped to link diverse parts of the world. It then considers debates about the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, along with nineteenth-century developments such as industrialization and imperialism. It also explores the main ideas that underpinned modern international order, the ‘shrinking of the planet’ that arose from the advent of new technologies, the emergence of intergovernmental organizations and international non-governmental organizations, and the advent of a radically unequal international order. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the significance of nineteenth-century developments for twentieth- and twenty-first-century international relations.

Chapter

Cover Contemporary Security Studies

25. The Weapons Trade  

Suzette R. Grillot

This chapter provides an overview of the international weapons trade. A history of the global arms trade is offered, highlighting the various ways in which the trade in defence and military equipment has shifted throughout the years until the present day. The chapter outlines the ways in which weapons are illicitly traded and addresses the connections between legal and illicit arms markets. Finally, the chapter addresses the many attempts that have been made in recent years to control the international arms trade, as well as prospects for its future regulation. What emerges is a rather complex picture of the global arms trade that requires attention to numerous facets involving both weapons supply and demand.

Chapter

Cover I-PEEL: The International Political Economy of Everyday Life

2. Clothes  

This chapter discusses the topic of clothing in everyday international political economy (IPE). It begins by looking at how the garment industry and workers in that industry have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, focusing in particular on the vulnerabilities faced by women workers in Leicester. This analysis introduces the concepts of fast fashion and commodity fetishism, and demonstrates how the globalization of garment production relates to the feminization of low-wage labour. The chapter then considers the broader politics of international trade that have shaped where in the world the production and disposal of clothing has been located. It also reviews efforts to reform the garment industry, including corporate social responsibility initiatives and the use of podcasting to highlight the under-researched topic of clothing disposal.

Chapter

Cover The European Union

8. The EU as a Global Actor  

Niklas Helwig

The EU’s ambitions to be a global power are a surprising by-product of European integration. Students of European foreign policy mostly focus on EU trade, aid, and the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). But the national foreign policy activities of its member states cannot be neglected. On most economic issues, the EU is able to speak with a single voice. It has more difficulty showing solidarity on aid policy but is powerful when it does. The Union’s external policy aspirations now extend to traditional foreign and security policy. But distinct national policies persist, and the EU suffers from fragmented leadership. The chapter begins by considering the development of EU foreign policy and then considers how a national system of foreign policies exists alongside EU policies in the area of trade and international development. It then examines the EU’s CFSP and Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

Book

Cover International Relations and the European Union

Christopher Hill, Michael Smith, and Sophie Vanhoonacker-Kormoss

International Relations and the European Union takes a unique approach by incorporating the study of the EU’s world role into the wider field of international relations. The text explains the EU’s role in the contemporary world. Beginning with an examination of theoretical frameworks and approaches, the text goes on to address the institutions and processes that surround the EU’s international relations. Key policy areas, such as security and trade, are outlined in detail, alongside the EU’s relations with specific countries, including the United States, China, India, and Russia. Updates for the fourth edition include chapters on the EU’s relationship with Africa and Asia, coverage of the implementation of the EU’s foreign policy, and exploration of how the EU’s international relations relate historically to the European integration process, and the contemporary issue of migration.

Book

Cover International Relations and the European Union

Christopher Hill, Michael Smith, and Sophie Vanhoonacker

International Relations and the European Union takes a unique approach by incorporating the study of the EU's world role into the wider field of international relations. The text explains the EU's role in the contemporary world. Beginning with an examination of theoretical frameworks and approaches, the text goes on to address the institutions and processes that surround the EU's international relations. Key policy areas, such as security and trade, are outlined in detail, alongside the EU's relations with specific countries, including the United States, China, India, and Russia. Updates for the third edition include expanded discussions of three key perspectives to provide a rounded picture of the EU's place in the international system: as a sub-system of international relations, as part of the process of international relations, and as a power in its own right.

Chapter

Cover Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes

12. International Drivers of Democracy  

This chapter explores the international forces that shape democratic development. International dynamics influence the balance of power among domestic actors, which can shape a country's prospects for the onset and deepening of democracy. In fact, a large and growing body of research underscores that factors taking place outside a country's borders have played a significant and under-examined role in regime change and democratic development. These external factors include diffusion, foreign intervention, linkages (like trade and cross-cultural contacts), and foreign aid. One of the key takeaways of is that geopolitics matter. When the international system is led by a single democratic power, the democratic super-power and its partners can use trade, aid, and other linkages to encourage the onset and consolidation of democracy. Once competing authoritarian regimes emerge, however, these dictatorships can use the same tools in ways that dilute democratic leverage.

Book

Cover International Relations Since 1945

John W. Young and John Kent

International Relations Since 1945 provides a comprehensive introduction to global political history since World War II. The text has been comprehensively updated to cover the period between 2001 and 2012. Discussing the World Trade Center bombing and concluding with the run-up to the 2012 US presidential elections, a new final section outlines broad developments including the changing world order and the global financial crisis. Three new chapters look at terrorism, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the rise of major new powers, including China. Student learning is supported by a range of helpful learning features, including biographies of key figures and chronologies of events.

Chapter

Cover The Globalization of World Politics

27. Global trade and global finance  

Matthew Watson

This chapter explores important issues in the conduct of global trade and global finance. It asks why the global economy is so good at allowing some people to own untold riches while many others have too little money to meet basic subsistence needs, and whether the world would be better or worse off without the institutions of global economic governance. After discussing the globalization of trade and finance, the chapter considers the regulation of global trade and global finance. Two case studies are presented, one dealing with the ongoing trade war between the US and China and the other with the effect of tax havens on overseas aid budgets. There is also an Opposing Opinions box that addresses the question of how far the institutions of global economic governance currently go to work specifically to the benefit of developing countries.

Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

1. The Study of Global Political Economy  

John Ravenhill

This chapter provides an overview of the current state of the world economy. The contemporary international economic system is more closely integrated than in any previous era. The global financial crisis and its aftermath provide a clear illustration of the relationship between trade, finance, international institutions, and the difficulties that governments face in coping with the problems generated by complex interdependence. The chapter then traces how the world economy evolved to reach its present state. Before 1945, the spectacular increase in economic integration that had occurred over the previous century was not accompanied by institutionalized governmental collaboration on economic matters. The end of the Second World War marked a significant disjunction: global economic institutions were created, the transnational corporation emerged as a major actor in international economic relations, and patterns of international trade began to change markedly from the traditional North–South exchange of manufactures for raw materials. Since the emergence of global political economy (GPE) as a major subfield of the study of international relations in the early 1970s, GPE scholars have generated an enormous literature that has employed a wide variety of theories and methods. Most introductions to the study of GPE have divided the theoretical approaches to the subject into three categories: liberalism, nationalism, and Marxism.

Chapter

Cover US Foreign Policy

24. The future of US foreign policy  

Anatol Lieven

This chapter considers future prospects for US foreign policy on the basis of long-established patterns and other factors such as the interests and ideology of elites, the structures of political life, the country’s real or perceived national interests, and the increasingly troubled domestic scene. It first examines the ideological roots of US foreign policy before discussing some of the major contemporary challenges for US foreign policy, including relations with China, US military power, and the US political order. It then describes the basic contours of US foreign policy over the next generation with respect to the Middle East, the Far East, Russia, Europe and the transatlantic relationship, climate change, and international trade. It also presents catastrophic scenarios for American foreign policy and argues that there will no fundamental change in US global strategy whichever of the two dominant political parties is in power.

Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

14. The Political Economy of the Environment  

Peter Dauvergne

This chapter assesses the global political economy of the environment. The growth of the world economy is transforming the Earth's environment. Nothing is particularly controversial about this statement. Yet, sharp disagreements arise over the nature of this transformation. Is the globalization of capitalism a force of progress and environmental solutions? Or is it a cause of the current global environmental crisis? The chapter addresses these questions by examining the debates around some of the most contentious issues at the core of economic globalization and the environment: economic growth, production, and consumption; trade; and transnational investment. It begins with a glance at the general arguments about how the global political economy affects the global environment. The chapter then traces the history of global environmentalism — in particular, the emergence of international environmental institutions with the norm of sustainable development. It also evaluates the effectiveness of North–South environmental financing and international environmental regimes.