Library Header Image
LSE Theses Online London School of Economics web site

Imagined commodities: "Trade and" policies in the European Union and United States.

Jarman, Holly (2009) Imagined commodities: "Trade and" policies in the European Union and United States. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Download (9MB) | Preview


The international trade agenda has expanded in recent years to incorporate a wide range of non-trade issues, under pressure from the world's two largest traders, the United States and the European Union. Incorporating policies on issues such as labour standards, the environment and health into trade agreements effectively turns them into 'imagined commodities'. The EU and US are exporting their values with the aim of harmonizing standards in other countries with their own. Like commodities, these standards would not vary in quality between producers. They have value to negotiators as bargaining tools, as policy models, and as instruments for compliance. Although the actual impact of these policies on developing countries is debatable, policymakers and interest groups imagine them to be very important, sometimes important enough to derail trade negotiations. Mixing elite interviews with textual analysis of press releases and key government documents, I examine the use of non-trade policies by US and EU trade negotiators to achieve their secondary goals - whether this is legitimating the policy process, distracting critics, or projecting the image of a benign foreign power. Examining interactions between interest groups and policy officials I find that while US officials use these new issues to benefit domestic constituencies, EU policymakers use them to enhance the EU's international standing in foreign policy. Behind this story are fundamental differences in the way that trade policymakers interact with key diffuse and specific interest groups. The consequences of this expanding trade agenda are a need for better coordination between government departments and agencies, increasing pressure on negotiators to address unfamiliar issues, and uncomfortable questions about the nature of policymaking in a globalized world.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, International Relations
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Government

Actions (login required)

Record administration - authorised staff only Record administration - authorised staff only


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics