Limits to Free Trade

Limits to Free Trade

Non-Tariff Barriers in the European Union, Japan and United States

David Hanson

This book explores the growing list of non-tariff trade barriers raised by the US, EU and Japan and assesses the prospects for significant trade liberalization. The author examines the liability of global free trade through a review of the complaints that these three countries raised about each other over a five-year period. He concludes that free trade may be increasingly hampered as barriers are created more rapidly than can be resolved, and that the prospects for significantly strengthening safeguards are limited.

Chapter 5: Background to Trade Policy in the European Union

David Hanson

Subjects: business and management, international business, economics and finance, international economics


INTRODUCTION Three themes emerge from the following analyses. The first is the broad acceptance of the premise that the government of the European Union has a comprehensive responsibility to safeguard the welfare of the population. The second theme is the expertise and leadership provided by government bureaucrats in the planning process, with relatively little input from business and other social groups. The third theme is the relative weakness of the mechanisms for coordinating across policy areas, especially with respect to international trade policy. 2. 2.1 THE CONTEXT OF GOVERNANCE IN THE EUROPEAN UNION A Cultural Perspective Twenty-seven very different countries constitute the membership of the EU. Although the EU member states have very different histories and paths to development, they almost all share a common characteristic: the path of development led from a tradition of monarchy and the claims of strongly centralized government to the current realities of democracy and decentralized government. Furthermore, the social battles for political liberalization were often dominated by groups that offered comprehensive visions of the future. This included, for example, socialists, communists, anarchists and Christian democrats. This is in sharp contrast with the pattern of American development. In the US, the struggle has been to create a viable national government from a collection of largely independent colonies. The subsequent political battles generally focused on current crises rather than comprehensive social visions. These issues included, for example, anti-slavery, states’ rights, anti-immigration and prohibition. The differences in the two historical tasks have left imprints on present 101...

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