European Union Trade Politics

European Union Trade Politics

Although much has been written about the European Union’s trade policies, this literature is limited in two important respects.  First, it does not engage fully with the breadth and depth of the EU’s external economic relations.  Only selected policies, institutions or issues tend to be addressed in each work.  In particular, the international impact of the EU’s internal policies is invariably underplayed.  Second, the EU trade policy literature has grown out of what could broadly be described as ‘European studies’.  As such, existing works have tended to engage only sporadically with broader debates in international political economy.  This book aims to address these two shortcomings.  It will provide a comprehensive analysis of the EU’s external economic policies, structured by and speaking to contemporary debates in international political economy. 

The focus of the book will actually be much broader than just trade per se, or what might be called ‘explicit trade policy’.  It will engage with the EU’s global impact on markets and policies, whether intentional or not.  A central theme will be the impact on EU external policy – particularly trade policy – of policies with internal objectives.  The growing importance of such policies has broadened the international trade agenda.  An interesting knock-on effect has been the engagement in trade politics of a far more diverse collection of actors, including legislatures, non-trade ministries and non-governmental organisations, many of which paid little attention to trade policy-making in the past.  This book will have these ‘new’ politics of trade at its core.

To date this project has sparked a special issue of the Journal of European Public Policy on ‘The European Union and the New Trade Politics’ (Issue 13, No. 6; now also available from Routledge), and papers to the 47th Annual ISA Convention, San Diego, 22-25 March 2006 and the EUSA Tenth Biennial International Conference, Montreal, 17-19 May 2007. 


  • Prof Alasdair Young
  • John Peterson