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The new political economy of trade: understanding the treatment of non-tariff measures in European Union trade policy

Garnizova, Elitsa (2018) The new political economy of trade: understanding the treatment of non-tariff measures in European Union trade policy. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Non-tariff measures have become a central topic to the debate of how international trade rules and domestic regulatory choices are to co-exist. They are an essential feature of the trade in goods and services, investment, and public procurement regimes. Moreover, different ideas on what is fair and legitimate and how this is justified coexist. The evolution of the inclusion of non-tariff measures can be explained by rational choice explanations looking at the changed composition and patterns of trade and resulting domestic-international dynamics. However, this explanation is only partial since it does not tell us which factors explain the different understanding of non-tariff measures and how this varies in different periods and contexts. While the constructivist literature and mainly, the literature on the role of ideas in EU trade policy have brought a stronger understanding of the content and influence of ideas, we are still missing an understanding of the content and ideas vis-à-vis non-tariff measures and regulatory issues due to the principal focus on neoliberal ideas. The dissertation aims to provide a theoretically and empirically grounded analysis of the policy process behind what we term negotiability or the overlap between what agents perceive as negotiable in the coordinative and communicative discourse. Through a combination between theory-induced and data-induced thematic and discourse analysis, we identified which factors affect negotiability. The empirical material uses a combination of primary sources, official EU documents, and in-depth elite interviews. Building on existing ideational theories, we show how two different problem definition of non-tariff measures as regulatory protectionism and as regulatory heterogeneity affect their treatment and lead to discrimination across partners. Drawing on existing theories about ideational change, we also show the meeting between the trade and regulatory regimes have brought slow, gradual change in EU trade policy through inconsistencies, ad-hoc processes, and experimentation thus creating space for discontinuities in neoliberal ideas. By analysing the international political economy causes of the treatment of non-tariff measures, we contribute new aspects to EU trade policy and on the role of ideas in understanding change-continuity.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2018 Elitsa Garnizova
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Woolcock, Stephen

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