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Competition provisions in EU regional trade agreements: consequences for domestic reform in developing countries

Hoeffken, Jana Ulrike (2016) Competition provisions in EU regional trade agreements: consequences for domestic reform in developing countries. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.gp1tvojof72e

Abstract

Political economy research has long argued that regional trade agreements (RTAs) can contribute to domestic reform in developing countries. With the increase in scope and depth of regional trade agreements and the increasingly common practice of including new policy areas like competition policy in RTAs, this argument has gained new traction. However, despite the increased scholarly interest, there is still little knowledge about whether and how provisions in RTAs affect domestic change. This thesis contributes to this line of research by analysing how competition provisions in regional trade agreements between the European Union and Southern countries impact on the development of the Southern competition regimes. By combining different theories and research approaches on how regional trade agreements impact domestic reform, the analytical framework provides a detailed account on the type of change that takes place, the mechanisms through which change occurs, and the different types of actors that participate in this process. The research relies on two case studies: the EU-Morocco Association Agreement on the one hand, and the EU-Cariforum Economic Partnership Agreement on the other. The thesis finds that competition provisions in regional trade agreements were relevant in both cases for the development of competition regimes. However, the findings also suggest that the influence of the competition provisions is contingent on two other factors: the surrounding environment in which the regional trade agreement is embedded, and the presence of domestic actors that are willing to promote reform. The fact that the competition provisions in the EU-Morocco trade agreement were embedded in the European Neighbourhood Policy and, importantly, that a follow-up regional trade agreement with the European Union was envisaged for the future, implied that the EU had a stronger leverage to demand change from the Moroccan government. Moreover, in both Morocco and Cariforum, the interest of governments in advancing competition policy reform was limited. Therefore, domestic actors other than the government played a key role in ensuring that the competition provisions had an impact on the development of the respective competition regimes. In sum, the thesis makes an important theoretical and empirical contribution to the literature. First, it empirically adds to the literature that looks at the consequences of competition provisions in regional trade agreements by making in-depths analyses of two trade agreements. Second, it develops the literature on the impact of regional trade agreements on domestic reform by explaining how competition provisions can have an impact on domestic reform, even in situations when the government is not interested. Finally, it also contributes to the literature by showing the importance of serial trade agreements for domestic reform, an aspect that has previously been overlooked.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2016 Jana Ulrike Hoeffken
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Woolcock, Steve
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/3588

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