EU Trade Diplomacy: Influencing and Influenced by a Changing International Arena
The papers in this panel advance our understanding of the characteristics, effectiveness and factors shaping the external diplomacy and interactions of regional organisations. Within the scope of the EU's trade policy, papers focus on how the EU exerts power and attempts to shape the international arena (e.g. reform of UNCITRAL and investment court proposals, regional trade agreements), and how it constructs its own distinct trade diplomacy, both as a response to the evolution of the international arena (e.g. US apparent retrenchment in trade under President Trump), and as a means to define its own identity and achieve its interests and goals.
Presentations of the Symposium
Trade Diplomacy of Regional Organisations: Comparative Analysis of EU and ASEAN Trade Diplomacy
The practice of trade diplomacy by regional organisation is no longer exclusive to EU as more and more regional organisations are starting to engage in collective negotiation as a bloc and is developing their own style, strategy and model of trade diplomacy. The purpose of this research is to compare and analyse EU’s trade diplomacy with another regional organisation in Asia, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). As EU’s interest in inter-regional trade diplomacy is once again on the rise, the need to understand how other regional organisations behave in their trade relations (in comparison to EU) is becoming more crucial. Building from document analysis and 30 in-depth interviews in both Europe and Asia, this research identifies four indicators of comparison between EU and ASEAN’s trade diplomacy: actors & distribution of trade authority, processes, trade strategy and aims & goals of trade diplomacy. Within these indicators, three similarities are identified between EU and ASEAN. The main conclusion is that while EU and ASEAN are inherently different, several elements of their trade diplomacy are similar due to external determinants and the structure of the international system that they both operate in. This comparative framework is useful in explaining how regional organisations conduct their trade diplomacy and how to achieve synergies between them.
EU Reform Proposals in the WTO and the UNICITRAL: In Defence of Judicialization of International Economic Law
For many years, it seemed that trade and investment disputes will be increasingly resolved before international judicial bodies. Nowadays, as we are witnessing many forms of the ‘backlash against globalization’, particularly in the resurgence of nationalism and protectionism, this development is put in question. After the legitimacy crisis of investment protection regime, the Trumpanian attack on the Appellate Body undermines a key crucial function of the WTO.
The EU has been traditionally an advocate of international rule of law and, currently, it leads the way to maintain rules-based global economic governance by submitting detailed proposals to reform international trade and investment adjudication bodies and gathering a broad support for them.
Specifically, the EU pursues the idea of establishing a multilateral investment court and it is persuading the UNCITRAL Working group III on the reform of ISDS as the best option forward. At the WTO, the EU tabled two sets of proposals to answer the US concerns and modify the relevant parts of the Dispute Settlement Understanding. Each of these documents have been already co-sponsored by several important WTO Members.
The proposed contribution to the UACES 2019 Conference will focus on the essential role of the EU in maintaining current trade and investment governance built on international law and in compliance with international obligations in the absence of the US leadership. It will analyse this enhanced EU status and its strategy in pursing set goals.
Working Together Effectively in the Interregional Trade Negotiations: Evidence from the European Union's Regional Partners
Trade negotiations between the European Union (EU) and other world regions have provided recently new empirical evidence on interregional relations and the ability of different and very heterogeneous regional groupings to come with agreement at the international level. On the grounds of literature on trade negotiations and on interregionalism, this paper explores the motives leading the trade agreement between the EU and the regional partner by examining competing explanations on why regions may come with a single unified position. It tests a institutional-based approach (‘single voice’), a preference-based approach (‘regionness’) and power-based approach based on the distribution of capabilities on the regional system.