Handbook on the EU and International Trade
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Handbook on the EU and International Trade

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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Chapter 16: European Union trade agreements and global value chains

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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