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About this book

This comprehensive and clearly written textbook offers a long-awaited introduction to the trade policy of the European Union, the world's largest trading entity. Gstöhl and De Bièvre provide a comprehensive assessment of the common commercial policy, its relationship with other policies, like development policy, and of the EU's multi-level policy-making and international bargaining in this area.

As well as providing a broad overview of the nature and development of the EU's trade policy, the authors analyse how relevant institutions and decision-making processes are organized and how this set-up fosters particular policy outcomes. Gstöhl and De Bièvre show how the thorough and critical study of EU trade policy can be conducted from an interdisciplinary viewpoint, enabling the student to tackle the ever-evolving political, economic, and legal questions that arise.

Given the accessible writing, this book is recommended for both undergraduate and Master's students studying the EU and Europe in their Politics, International Relations, Economics or Law degrees, as well as those focusing on international trade policy.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction: Why Study EU Trade Policy?

Abstract
From the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1958 until today, the member states of the European Union (EU) have crafted a common commercial policy. With this momentous decision embodied in the Treaty of Rome, within a few years they abolished tariffs and other barriers to trade between themselves, and they delegated the setting of external tariff levels and of rules regulating trade with the rest of the world to the supranational, European level. Member states thus granted the Union exclusive competence in the conduct of external trade policy. Along with only a few other policy fields, such as the regulation of the internal market, competition policy or monetary policy, trade policy is one of the outright most important exclusive competences of the EU. This makes the Union similar to a country in the realm of trade policymaking and international trade law.
Sieglinde Gstöhl, Dirk De Bièvre

Chapter 2. The Legal Development of the Common Commercial Policy

Abstract
The common commercial policy has played an important part in the process of European integration, and today trade policy is crucial for the role of the European Union (EU) as a global actor. How did EU trade policy develop over time, and which factors have shaped it? This chapter provides an overview of the main steps in the legal development of the common commercial policy. It starts out with the origins and goals of EU trade policy and then analyses the expansion of legal competences through the interpretations of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) as well as Treaty amendments. Agreeing on its scope has always been one of the challenges for the member states in developing the common commercial policy. Tracing the landmarks of this process is important in order to understand how and why the EU arrived at the current situation.
Sieglinde Gstöhl, Dirk De Bièvre

Chapter 3. Actors and Processes in EU Trade Policy

Abstract
Who makes the trade policy of the European Union (EU)? To answer this question, this chapter introduces the actors, the decision-making procedures and the trade policy instruments which the European Union has at its disposal. The most important actors in EU trade policy are on the one hand the EU institutions and on the other hand business and societal stakeholders, as well as governments of third countries. These actors interact in three types of processes: when the EU negotiates bilateral, regional or multilateral trade agreements; when it implements the common commercial policy; and when it applies unilateral trade policy measures, such as anti-dumping and market access investigations or pursues complaints at the World Trade Organization (WTO) about other countries' trade policy measures.
Sieglinde Gstöhl, Dirk De Bièvre

Chapter 4. The Political Economy of Trade Policymaking in the EU

Abstract
What explains trade policy? This chapter introduces some major theoretical perspectives on the political economy of trade policymaking and its application to the trade policy of the European Union (EU). The first part investigates approaches that focus on different levels of analysis, in order to explain EU trade policy . The factors shaping the policy can mainly be located on three different levels of analysis: the international system, the society and the state. Systemic explanations view trade policymaking as a reaction to the challenges and opportunities flowing from the structure of the international system of states. Society-centred approaches start from the assumption that organized societal interests shape public decision-makers’ choices in the conduct of EU trade policy, while state-centred approaches view national and European institutions as predominantly independent from the demands of interest groups and civil society. According to the state-centred view, the demand for certain policies does not necessarily translate into desired outcomes, for example when governmental actors are relatively insulated from those demands in multilevel systems or through the delegation of authority.
Sieglinde Gstöhl, Dirk De Bièvre

Chapter 5. The European Union in the World Trade Organization

Abstract
The European Union (EU) is one of the most prominent members of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This means that the common commercial policy has to comply with the rules of this multilateral trade organization - rules that the EU subscribes to and most of which it has actively helped crafting. This chapter provides an overview of the EU’s role in the WTO. It first presents the main components of the world trade regime and the WTO in particular. The WTO is simultaneously a forum for intergovernmental trade negotiations, a set of commitments to trade liberalization that its members have entered into and an organization ensuring the enforcement of those commitments through its dispute settlement mechanism. The chapter looks at how the EU has co-shaped the multilateral trade regime and discusses the EU’s role both as defendant and complainant in the WTO dispute settlement mechanism.
Sieglinde Gstöhl, Dirk De Bièvre

Chapter 6. EU Trade and Development Policy

Abstract
The European Union (EU) and its member states are important trading partners and donors for developing countries. This chapter explores the relationship between the common commercial policy and European development policy, arguably the most developed, if not the most important, intersection of the EU’s external policies. The first part analyses the longstanding and well-developed trade and aid relations between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. It is followed by a short section on the EU’s relations with developing countries in Asia and Latin America. The third part deals with the EU’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which is not restricted to a geographical group of countries and which in the past was often referred to as the EU’s ‘single most important trade tool for development’ (Mandelson, 2005). Finally, the chapter presents the goals, actors and instruments of EU development policy and humanitarian assistance. Trade has become increasingly important for development cooperation since the EU considers its trade agreements to ‘underpin sustainable development, human rights protection and rules-based governance’ (European External Action Service, 2016, pp. 26–27). Yet only when combined with development cooperation can trade serve as ‘a powerful engine of growth in developing countries’ (European Commission, 2015, p. 3).
Sieglinde Gstöhl, Dirk De Bièvre

Chapter 7. Challenges for EU Trade Policy

Abstract
This chapter discusses some of the main challenges that EU trade policy currently faces. The rise of the emerging economies and the stagnation of the negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO) contributed to a reorientation of EU trade policy towards more bilateral trade agreements in the form of an unprecedented proliferation of free trade agreements (FTAs) and also a reorientation of trade relations with many developing countries. Yet not only the quantity but also the quality of the FTAs has changed as they became deeper and more comprehensive, reflecting a degree of externalization of the EU’s internal market. Moreover, beyond the trade development nexus discussed in Chapter 6, trade policy has increasingly become intertwined with other external or internal EU policies, such as human rights, competition or environmental policy. As a result, it is facing new institutional and political challenges.
Sieglinde Gstöhl, Dirk De Bièvre

Chapter 8. Conclusion: Future Prospects of EU Trade Policy

Abstract
This book has shown that the trade policy of the European Union (EU) is a multifaceted and fascinating topic to study for political scientists, economists and lawyers alike. The EU’s performance in trade policy is important for the economies of the EU member states and, indeed, of the world (see Chapter 1). Nevertheless, for a long time EU trade policy appeared to be a field reserved for practitioners, and it has only recently attracted more attention from a broader range of scholars and the public. This concluding chapter highlights again the special nature of the common commercial policy before it addresses some future prospects in light of recent internal and external events.
Sieglinde Gstöhl, Dirk De Bièvre
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