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March 11 , 2009

The European Union and the New Trade Politics


The politics of international trade have changed dramatically over the past 20 years. Advances in technology have spurred a new kind of 'trade' involving transfers of components and materials across borders but within firms. Trade in services, foreign direct investment and sales by affiliates of foreign-owed companies have grown more rapidly than trade in goods, making national rules and regulations more significant barriers to trade.

The effects of 'non-trade' policies on trade have engaged new actors in trade politics, not least in the European Union (EU). The emergence of a more active bloc of developing countries alongside a vibrant international civil society, including environmental and consumer groups and ministries, have made trade politics increasingly lively, complex, and challenging for the EU. Meanwhile, the World Trade Organization has become not only a primary focus for EU trade policy but also a lightning rod for protest, a powerful 'legaliser' of trade diplomacy, and an arena where it is often difficult, even impossible, to separate private from public interests.

The European Union and the New Trade Politics provides a state of the art analysis of how the EU shapes and is shaped by the 'new' trade politics.

This book was previously published as a special issue of The Journal of European Public Policy.

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