Arlo Poletti

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Trade as an instrument of European structural foreign policy: a theoretical assessment

It is unanimously recognized that over the past twenty years the nature of international trade has changed in terms of both content and process The terms used to describe such a change are numerous. Despite these terminological differences, the literature authors stresses that a shift has occurred in international trade rules from negative prescription to positive rule making. Broadly speaking, the main feature of these ‘new trade issues’ can be understood in terms of an expansion of the world trade agenda from ‘at the border’ issues (tariffs and quotas) to ‘behind the border’ issues (national laws and regulations). While the change that involved the international trade environment was not unique to the EU, quite peculiar is the way in which the EU responded to the changed pressures brought by it. A variety of analyses point out that the EU has been the most prominent advocate of the so-called deep trade agenda. The EU has responded more quickly and energetically than any other major trading power to the new domestic politics of international trade. The research aims to cast a light on such element of EU external relations by assessing the relative explanatory power of different theoretical perspectives in two instances of European foreign policy: the EU stance in the so-called Doha Development Round and negotiations between the EU and ACP countries for the conclusion of the new Economic Partnership Agreements.









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