The EU-NormCon researchers, Patricia Garcia-Duran y Oriol Costa, have participated in the 48th UACES Annual Conference that has taken place in the University of Bath (United Kingdom) between the 2nd and the 5th of September 2018. They presented the paper entitled ‘EU Trade Policy, Politicization, and Managed Globalization’.
Abstract: This article argues that trade politicization and European Commission’s “managed globalization” rhetoric are linked. Placed between the extremes of protectionism and complete laissez-faire, “managed globalization” as defined by Meunier and others implies an effort to shape and regularize the competitive order. For the European Union (EU) this means a general embrace of trade liberalization, while ensuring public authorities retain significant leeway to protect and/or shape specific policy areas or issues. Trade politicization refers to an increase in the polarization of opinions, actors and salience regarding trade either within the EU or at World Trade Organization (WTO) level. Our qualitative content analysis of EU trade policy strategy papers indicates that the response of DG Trade to the so-called Battle of Seattle (in the late 1999-2000) and to contestation over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) (2013-2016) was largely the same: to emphasize that globalization can and will be controlled. It also shows that EU trade policy leaned towards the laissez faire approach in between the trade politicization peaks so that trade politicization may be acting as corrector of deviations to “managed globalization”. By pointing to the relation between trade politicization and “managed globalization”, this article provides new insights not only to the line of research undertaken by Sophie Meunier and others on “managed globalization” but also to literature on the impact of politicization. By showing similar responses to separate events 15 years apart and a gradual intensification of liberalization outside of peak-contestation, this paper identifies trade politicization as a variable that helps explain “managed globalization” rhetoric and “managed globalization” rhetoric as response to trade politicization either within the EU (as in the TTIP case) or at WTO (as in the Battle of Seattle).
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