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Chapter

16. Trade Policy  

Making Policy in Turbulent Times

Alasdair R. Young

This chapter introduces the importance of EU trade policy both to the European integration project and to the EU’s role in the world. It explains how different aspects of trade policy are made. The chapter also charts how the emphasis of EU trade policy has shifted from prioritizing multilateral negotiations to pursuing bilateral agreements. It considers how the EU has responded to the apparent politicization of trade policy within Europe and to the United States’ more protectionist and unilateral trade policy. It also considers Brexit EU trade policy and how trade policy complicated Brexit. It argues that there has been considerable continuity in EU trade policy despite these challenges.

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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.

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This chapter focuses on the external economic relations of the European Union—the longest-established area of collective European international policy-making and action—and specifically on trade and development policy. The chapter begins by examining institutions and policy-making for trade, in which the Commission plays a central role in initiating and conducting policy, and looks especially at the Common Commercial Policy (CCP). It goes on to examine development policy—an area of mixed competence, in which policy responsibility is shared between the EU institutions and national governments. The chapter then proceeds to explore the substance and impact of EU trade and development policies, and to assess the linkages between the two areas. The conclusions draw attention to a number of tensions and contradictions in EU trade and development policy, including those arising from the departure of the United Kingdom.

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This chapter examines the European Union’s (EU’s) external trade relations in the context of the wider framework of global trade agreements, along with its related policies on development aid, particularly with the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) states. It first looks at the history of the EU’s trade and development aid, before discussing its contemporary external trade and development policies. It explains the workings of the common commercial policy, considers disputes within the World Trade Organization (WTO), especially with the United States, and explores the EU’s trading relationship with developing countries and near neighbours in the context of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). It then considers theoretical explanations of the EU’s external trade and development aid policies, as well as criticisms of such policies. Analysis of the EU’s external economic relations brings to the fore a number of theoretical themes, such as the tension between nationalism and supranationalism, the complexities of bargaining within multiple international forums, and the dominance of particular ideas across different forums.

Chapter

Sophie Meunier and Kalypso Nicolaïdis

This chapter examines the determinants of the European Union's trade power as well as the contribution of trade policy to the power of Europe in the international system. It first considers how the EU acquired and expanded competence to represent the member states in trade policy, from the Common Commercial Policy in the Treaty of Rome to trade policy after the Treaty of Lisbon. It then provides an overview of the EU trade policymaking process before discussing the exercise of the EU's trade power. In particular, it explores the European single market and world trade liberalization, settlement of disputes in the World Trade Organization, and the EU's retreat from multilateralism. The chapter also looks at preferential trade agreements, along with bilateral and regional agreements, and concludes with an analysis of how the EU is resolving the tensions inherent to being a world power in trade and through trade.

Chapter

This chapter explores policy outcomes by looking at a number of European countries. It considers some salient policy areas, including those that are decided primarily at the national level, for example health, and policies that are determined at the more macro, European Union (EU) level, for example trade. It also looks at policy areas that involve shared decision-making across different levels of government, examples here include immigration and the environment. The chapter also focuses on the role of position-taking by political parties and other groups, such as interest groups and social groups or movements. It considers how these explain variations in policy outcomes.

Chapter

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).

Chapter

John Peterson and Alberta Sbragia

This chapter examines some of the most important areas of policy-making in the European Union. It first explains how EU policy-making differs from national policy-making before discussing the most important policies aimed at building the internal market and limiting its potentially negative impact on individuals, society, and the environment. The EU’s ‘market-building’ policies include competition policy, trade policy, and the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), while ‘market-correcting’ and ‘cushioning’ policies include the common agricultural policy, the cohesion policy, and environmental and social regulation. The chapter shows how these policies are made and also why and how they matter. It also compares policy types in the EU.

Chapter

16. Trade Policy  

Policy-Making after the Treaty of Lisbon

Stephen Woolcock

This chapter examines the decision-making process in the European Union’s trade and investment policy following the changes brought about by the Treaty of Lisbon. It shows how EU policy competence has been extended progressively over many years due to internal institutional developments, but also in response to demands made upon the EU by external drivers. It also considers the respective roles of the EU institutions and argues that effective policy-making requires that all of the major actors have faith in the decision-making regime. Such a regime involving the European Commission and the European Council was developed by the EU over many years. The challenge for decision-making is for the European Parliament to be integrated into this regime. The chapter explains how the EU has shifted to a policy that includes the active pursuit of free trade agreements in parallel with efforts to promote a comprehensive multilateral trade agenda.

Chapter

John Peterson and Niklas Helwig

The European Union’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 genuinely 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).

Chapter

This chapter examines India’s emergence as a key player in the World Trade Organization (WTO) within the context of its foreign policy. It considers plausible mainstream explanations for India’s apparent rise to power, including growing market size, changing ideology, and the role of domestic interest groups in influencing foreign economic policy. It suggests that India’s emergence as a major player in the WTO can be explained by its negotiation behaviour. More specifically, it shows that India’s rise in the WTO is a product of decades of learning to negotiate within the specific multilateral rules of the organization (as well as its predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)). The chapter also considers some of the problems that India’s WTO diplomacy raises within the trade context as well as its broader foreign policy goals.

Chapter

Leslie Elliott Armijo

This chapter examines Brazil’s emergence as a global power, with a particular focus on how the country has striven to play a bigger role on the international scene. It first provides a brief historical background on Brazil before discussing contemporary Brazilian foreign policy — especially its leaders’ vision of the country as a consequential global player in an increasingly multipolar world. This is seen through the active campaigning for continental integration in which Brazil has played an important role by means of several initiatives. The chapter explores Brazilian foreign policy initiatives in four global issue arenas: trade, climate, financial governance, and nuclear proliferation. It concludes with the suggestion that in terms of material power resources and influence, Brazil was not a global power in the twentieth century, even as it notes the country’s aspiration to become a major international player in the early twenty-first century.

Chapter

This chapter examines U.S. foreign policy debates and policy management under the direction of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. It first provides an overview of post-Cold War American internationalism before discussing the so-called ‘Kennan sweepstakes’: a conscious effort to find a post-Soviet statement of purpose to rival George Kennan’s early Cold War concept of ‘containment’ of communism. It then considers U.S. foreign policy making in the new order and in the post-Cold War era. Both the Bush and Clinton administrations wrestled with the problem of deciding on a clear, publicly defensible, strategy for U.S. foreign policy in the new era. Clinton’s first term was dominated by free trade agendas and by efforts to operationalize the policy of ‘selective engagement’, while his second term involved a noticeable turn towards unilateralism and remilitarization. The New World Order was Bush’s main contribution to thinking beyond the Cold War.

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This chapter focuses on the historical origins and the subsequent intellectual lineage of the three core theoretical positions within contemporary global political economy (GPE): realism, liberalism, and Marxism. ‘Textbook GPE’ privileges nineteenth-century understandings of political economy when discussing the pre-history of its own field. This helps explains GPE's treatment of feminist scholarship within the textbooks; feminism remains largely marginalized from textbook GPE, presented as something of a postscript to avoid accusations of it having been omitted altogether rather than being placed centre stage in the discussion. The chapter then looks at how the nineteenth-century overlay operates in textbook GPE. To do so, it makes sense to concentrate in the first instance on the issue that did most to divide nineteenth-century economists: namely, the free trade policies resulting from the general ascendancy of laissez-faire ideology. The most celebrated of the critics, Friedrich List, is treated much more as a dependable authority figure in GPE than he is in the history of economic thought. Indeed, in textbook GPE, the disputes between realist and liberal positions is very often presented initially through an account of List's work, despite the pre-history of liberalism being much the longer of the two.

Chapter

Deborah Bräutigam and Yunnan Chen

This chapter examines China’s South–South relations and how it has been shaped by the nature of the Chinese state: a highly capable, developmental state that uses an array of instruments to promote its interests. In particular, it considers how, by means of foreign aid, economic cooperation, soft power, and trade, China aspires to be seen as a responsible global power. The chapter first looks at the history behind China’s engagement with countries of the Global South and the instruments that it has employed in this regard such as foreign investment, commercial loans, and soft power tools. It shows that Chinese ties with the developing world are shaped by long-standing foreign policy principles, including non-interference in the internal affairs of others, equality, and mutual benefit, along with its embrace of globalization and the growth of its multinational corporations. The chapter concludes with an assessment of concerns regarding China’s international engagement.

Chapter

Michael Mastanduno

This chapter explores the link between economic instruments of statecraft and the broader foreign policy goals and strategies of states. Economic sanctions are used in conjunction with diplomatic and military measures in response to foreign policy problems and opportunities. However, they are not always effective. The chapter begins with a discussion of the instruments and objectives of economic statecraft, including trade restrictions, financial sanctions, investment restrictions, and monetary sanctions. It then explores the potential of economic incentives as a tool of statecraft and the question of whether economic interdependence leads to harmony, as liberals believe, or conflict among states, as realists predict. It shows that economic interdependence can either lead to peace or conflict depending on the future expectations of policy makers, the nature of the military balance, and the form that economic interdependence takes.

Chapter

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

This chapter examines how policy towards the European Economic Community (EEC) fitted in with French leader Charles de Gaulle's broader European and international objectives and how the international constraints on his certain vision of France gave rise to his evolving, uncertain idea of Europe. Having denounced the Treaty of Rome before coming to power in 1958, de Gaulle ensured the EEC's survival by undertaking financial reforms in France and warding off Britain's effort to negotiate a wider free trade area. He linked these initiatives to implementation of the common agricultural policy (CAP). The chapter also considers de Gaulle's proposal for an independent and intergovernmental European Union and his role in the so-called Empty Chair Crisis of 1965–6. Finally, it discusses the impact of de Gaulle on the course of European integration.