Transformations in Global Economic Governance: Integration via Free Trade Agreements

Lead Research Organisation: Keele University
Department Name: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Abstract

The seminar series aims to generate new research, create networks, foster capacity building and user engagement by providing an interdisciplinary forum for debate and discussion on: (a) the regulatory, economic and social aspects of regional integration through FTAs; (b) what FTAs bring to partner countries; and (c) the current state of play in FTA activity in the EU, USA and Asia. By providing a wide geographical spread of seminars that focus on specific themes of regional trading agreements, its effects and the move towards a common regulatory framework, we propose to engage with academics, early career and established researchers from all over the world to create new research networks and build on existing works as well as engage with and bring together stakeholders, i.e. policy makers, small and medium sized businesses and civil society groups, that have an interest in FTAs being negotiated in and by Asia, EU and America.

Broadly the seminar series focuses on: first, understanding the rationales behind FTAs and how the EU, USA and Asian FTAs interact with one another; second, how FTAs under negotiation could affect the policy choices of governments and business environments around the globe; and third, gaining a comprehensive overview of how the move to common regulatory systems under bilateral FTAs are likely to determine future rules of global trade governance.

Seminar 1 highlights the general trends in FTAs. Main issues for discussion include: rationale for growing FTAs, and the recent developments that provide momentum for countries to negotiate FTAs. How are the EU and USA driving FTA negotiations in Asia? What are the economic and social impacts of FTAs? Is the internal and external environment important in setting trade policy agenda? Are the dynamics of negotiations driven by constructivist or neo-realist framework of international relations? (Seminar venue: Keele)

Seminar 2 looks at the EU's rationale for negotiating FTAs with Asia and USA. This includes a discussion on social, economic, political, geo-political and political economy aspects of FTAs, and how trading agreements are an integral part of 'Global Europe' strategy and foreign policy. (Seminar venue: London)

Seminar 3 offers a comprehensive analysis of Asian FTAs, its rationale, and comments on factors that drive FTA negotiations in the region. This sheds light on the growing inter-linkages between Asian and European global production networks, and comments why India unlike (China and ASEAN) has not been able to benefit from regional value chains. It also addresses the questions as to how can Indian firms integrate into FTA production chain activity? (Seminar venue: New Delhi)

Seminar 4 looks at the state of play of ongoing bilateral FTA talks between EU and USA. The seminars takes stock of the current state of negotiations and comments on contentious issues that have emerged in ongoing talks. This also examines how and why the Transatlantic Partnership is driven by aim of eventual regulatory convergence between the trading partners. (Seminar venue: Bath)

Seminar 5 evaluates EU and US FTAs including those with Asian countries, commenting on areas of differences/commonalities in FTAs negotiated and the general move towards regulatory convergence/divergence. This provides a comprehensive, comparative and systematic research on the scope and enforceability of regulatory norms negotiated under FTAs. The seminar also highlights the importance of labour and social standards within FTAs and the relevance of addressing these issues within the context of global trade governance. (Seminar venue: Brussels)

Seminar 6 examine the emerging dynamics of FTAs, debates whether such agreements can be a stepping stone to future multilateral liberalisation or whether this could lead to fragmentation in world trade. It also comments on what role the EU and USA play as global actors in shaping a functioning multilateral order. (Seminar venue: London)

Planned Impact

The seminar series and outputs will benefit three distinct groups of stakeholders:
1. Policy-makers, particularly EU trade negotiators and policy-makers, as well as EU Member States' policy-makers
2. Civil society groups and think tanks
3. European business community, especially SMEs and European Business Associations

Policy-makers will be able to refine future policies and negotiating strategies on the basis of the knowledge generated throughout the seminar series, with an emphasis on the understudied business and social consequences of economic integration through FTAs.

Civil society groups, including environmental groups, trade unions, NGOs, community groups, consumer groups will have access to the same information as policy-makers regarding the benefits and pitfalls of economic integration, thus broadening their perspectives on these matters and enabling them to enhance their engagement in the policy-making process. Further, the findings will feed into think tanks work on FTAs.

Businesses, especially SMEs, are the stated targets of economic integration policies. However, they often lack the knowledge and resources to follow developments in FTAs and take advantage of new market access and trade facilitation measures that have been negotiated by policy-makers. Thus, the seminar series will transfer up-to-date information on FTAs and business practices to SMEs.

After each seminar, a brief indicating the main discussions and their conclusions will be prepared by the PI and CO-I, and published on the project website. Participants will be asked to facilitate updated bibliography on register their projects (if any) on the project website so that resources are readily available to the policy makers, practitioners, academics, and the general public.

The list below provides an overview of some government and non-government organisations which have been identified as having a potential interest in the findings of this seminar series as well as in the (further) activities generated in and by the website:
Government agencies: Department of Trade and Investment; European Commission Trade directorate, trade negotiators of USA, EU and Asian countries.
Institutions: European Commission DG Trade, European Parliament International Trade Committee, ECIPE, Temasek Foundation Centre for Trade & Negotiations. Centre for Sciences Humaines in New Delhi, which is a French government institution for research, has expressed a keen interest in the seminar series and has offered to provide local assistance in hosting the seminar in New Delhi (in June 2015). This highlights the significance of our seminar series for businesses and the wider academic community in Asia.
NGOs: OXFAM (UK); FRIDE (Belgium); CUTS (India); Medecins sans Frontiers (France); WIDE-Network (Netherlands).
Business Associations: Confederation of British Industries; Business Europe; EuroChambres; AmCham; European Services Association; Asian Business Federations.

Publications


10 25 50
Khorana S (2016) India and the Indian Ocean region in Journal of the Indian Ocean Region
KHORANA, S (2015) WHAT DOES INDIA THINK?

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
ES/M002586/1 31/12/2014 31/07/2015 £28,411
ES/M002586/2 Transfer ES/M002586/1 01/08/2015 31/03/2017 £20,972
 
Description 'Handbook on European Union Trade Policy' 
Organisation University of Bath
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland (UK) 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We (Co I and PI) in partnership with University of Ghent developed the idea to co-edit a book entitled 'Handbook on European Union Trade Policy', for which we contacted Edward Elgar publishers.
Collaborator Contribution The co-edited book draws on expertise of various workshop participants, and will be published in 2017.
Impact The 'Handbook on European Union Trade Policy' includes a holistic vision of trade policy from a political, economic and legal perspective, taking advantage of the multidisciplinary character of the network and workshops. It also focuses on some areas that have been highlighted in discussions as problematic in current research: the effect of Lisbon Treaty changes in the internal politics and implantation of EU trade policy; and the effect of the financial crisis and changes in global economic power dynamics on the way third parties interact with the European Union's trade negotiators.
Start Year 2015
 
Description 'Handbook on European Union Trade Policy' 
Organisation University of Ghent
Country Belgium, Kingdom of 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We (Co I and PI) in partnership with University of Ghent developed the idea to co-edit a book entitled 'Handbook on European Union Trade Policy', for which we contacted Edward Elgar publishers.
Collaborator Contribution The co-edited book draws on expertise of various workshop participants, and will be published in 2017.
Impact The 'Handbook on European Union Trade Policy' includes a holistic vision of trade policy from a political, economic and legal perspective, taking advantage of the multidisciplinary character of the network and workshops. It also focuses on some areas that have been highlighted in discussions as problematic in current research: the effect of Lisbon Treaty changes in the internal politics and implantation of EU trade policy; and the effect of the financial crisis and changes in global economic power dynamics on the way third parties interact with the European Union's trade negotiators.
Start Year 2015