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Adrian Smith

Recent European Union trade policy statements have made explicit reference to the role that trade policy should play in the formulation and deepening of global value chain activity in the world economy. Global value chains are seen to be a major driving force in the organisation of cross-border trade and economic integration. However, there is a much longer history of the relationship between trade policy and globalising economic networks. This chapter begins by examining this historical context. It then goes on to look at mechanisms deployed by the EU as they relate to global value chains, before turning to examine the relationship between trade policy and industrial and social upgrading in global value chains. Finally, the chapter considers the social and working condition consequences of integration into global value chains, and the attempt to establish trade policy mechanisms to enhance social standards via labour provisions.

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Edited by Sangeeta Khorana and María García

The Handbook on the EU and International Trade presents a multidisciplinary overview of the major perspectives, actors and issues in contemporary EU trade relations. Changes in institutional dynamics, Brexit, the politicisation of trade, competing foreign policy agendas, and adaptation to trade patterns of value chains and the digital and knowledge economy are reshaping the European Union's trade policy. The authors tackle how these challenges frame the aims, processes and effectiveness of trade policy making in the context of the EU's trade relations with developed, developing and emerging states in the global economy.
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Sangeeta Khorana and María García

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Lore Van den Putte and Samantha Velluti

The chapter examines the European Union’s (EU) practice of promoting social rights and international labour standards in its external trade relations. After providing a general background of the trade-labour linkage, with particular reference to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and EU strategic partnership, it proceeds to the analysis of the unilateral and bilateral trade arrangements of the EU. In so doing, it compares the EU’s approach under the incentive scheme of the Generalized System of Trade Preferences (GSP+) with that under the so-called ‘new generation’ of free trade agreements (FTAs), and also in contrast to the United States’ (US) approach. In this context it looks at the cooperative nature of EU social conditionality. The chapter concludes with some reflections on the main findings of the evaluation of EU social trade carried out in the preceding sections.

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Philippe De Lombaerde, Ludger Kühnhardt and Mario Filadoro

One of the characterizing features of the external policies and actions of the European Union (EU) is that they have shown a preference for interregional relations and have while actively supporting regionalization processes in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean. However, depending on the case and the nature of the region the EU is dealing with, these relations are assimilated with ‘pure’, ‘hybrid’ or ‘quasi-‘interregionalism. The aim of this chapter is to investigate how the EU’s policy objectives and practice of regionalism promotion intersect and interact with its trade policy objectives and practice, and how these interactions have evolved over time. The chapter adopts first a transversal approach by discussing the interregional preference in trade policy, the trade dimension of cooperation with regional organizations worldwide, and the design of preferential rules of origin. This is then combined with a study of three cases that illustrate these interactions and their evolution: EU-ACP relations, EU-CAN relations and EU-ASEAN relations. When looking closely at these cases, ‘hybrid interregionalism’ (and pragmatism) seems to be the rule, instead of ‘pure interregionalism’, and there is a tendency observable towards bilateralism. When looking at interregionalism from a trade angle, the limitations of a ‘pure’ region-to-region approach become visible. It is shown that the EU has used flexible instruments and trade-related assistance to support regional integration to follow a bilateral approach without setting aside its preference for interregionalism.

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Ferdi De Ville and Gabriel Siles-Brügge

Ideas matter in politics, but, sadly, this is a point that has often been missed in the study of EU trade policy. Ideas may influence what actors think should be the objectives of trade policy or be used strategically to justify a certain policy course to convince (or coerce) otherwise critical actors. We analyse this dual role of ideas in EU trade policy from the completion of the European Single Market Programme (1992) to the recent negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). We argue that what could be called the ‘free trade paradigm’ has been consistently dominant over this period in shaping the policy and pronouncements of the European Commission officials responsible for external trade. However, ideas from other paradigms have been also been attached to this central ideational thread at various points in order to respond to increasing criticism of ‘free trade’.

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William A. Kerr

The institutional architecture governing international commercial relations is incomplete. The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) reach is limited relative to, for example, preferential trade agreements such as the European Union. The European Union, among others, has had an interest in filling in a number of perceived gaps in the institutional architecture. Four of these issues have commonly become known as the Singapore Issues since they were specifically included in the WTO agenda for future work in the Ministerial Declaration from the Ministerial meeting held in Singapore in 1996. The Singapore Issues are: (1) investment; (2) competition; (3) government procurement; and (4) trade facilitation. This chapter reviews why these issues are important in international commerce and the progress that has been made for each of them.

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Min Shu

This chapter focuses on the relations between trade and competitiveness in the EU. Trade offers an essential way to harness the comparative advantages of domestic economies in the international market. Maintaining an open and liberalized trade regime is vital to promoting the competitiveness of the EU economy. However, trade may also bring foreign competitors, threatening the healthy growth, and sometimes the very survival, of European business. Facing such a dilemma, neither complete openness nor excessive competition is conducive to the competitiveness of the EU economy. Linking trade and competitiveness together requires policy-makers to walk a fine line between promoting competition and providing protection. Focusing on the concerns over EU competitiveness, this chapter examines the three major challenges facing the Common Commercial Policy since the mid-2000s: the growing internal diversities within the EU economy, the rapid surge of Chinese imports, and the changing mode of global production. The analysis shows that, as the world economy integrated, it has become more difficult to define the exact meanings of EU competitiveness. Different understandings of competitiveness will continue to be a major source of contestation in the EU’s trade relationship with the rest of the world.

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Michael Smith

This chapter raises some central questions about the relationship between EU trade policy and ‘European Foreign Policy’, in the context of recent calls for ‘joined-up policy-making’ in the EU’s Global Strategy Paper and of recent literature in the field. In particular, it explores the forces tending towards convergence between trade policy and foreign policy in the EU, and those tending towards continuing divergence or parallelism, by assessing a number of key issues and relationships in EU external action. By focusing first on pressures for convergence and divergence, then on key issues and finally on key relationships, the chapter provides a framework for the evaluation of current and recent EU policies, and for an assessment of the potential interaction between trade policy and foreign policy in future EU external action.

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Daniela Širinić and Josip Šipić

This chapter focusses on age differences in partisanship and party–voter congruence, explains whether those parties that manage to get young people to vote, and with whom the young identify, can articulate and aggregate their supporters’ preferences. The analysis shows that while the young are less likely to identify with political parties compared to older citizens, more than half of young voters report to be close to political parties. There are no large differences in party–voter policy agreement among the selected age groups. There is no evidence to suggest that young voters are less represented by their preferred parties compared to other age groups; in fact, overall levels of policy representation for all citizens are quite satisfactory. In addition, we were interested in identifying whether different parties perform better with respect to two age groups. The findings suggest that niche parties, and ideologically distinctive parties attract more young partisans, but also that parties successfully balance heterogeneous requests from different age groups, and they all perform their representative roles quite well.