Brenton, Paul. (2000) The Changing Nature and Determinants of EU Trade Policies. CEPS Working Document No. 150, October 2000. [Working Paper]
EU trade policies and the environment in which they are determined are now considerably different from when the EU came into being in the 1950s. With the exceptions of agriculture and textiles and clothing, tariffs and quantitative restrictions on trade in goods have been reduced to historically very low levels. But trade policy is now about much more than border restrictions upon trade in goods. Trade in services and the impact of national differences in regulatory regimes are now firmly on the trade policy agenda. This paper describes the current multilateral and preferential trade policies of the EU. It highlights the increasing importance of regulatory issues and the fact that some of these are being addressed outside of both multilateral and standard bilateral free trade agreements. This reflects the mixed motives behind EU trade policies and that for trade with certain regions the typical political economy factors framing trade policy are no longer relevant. For example, liberalisation of transatlantic trade, in the limited form at present of mutual recognition of conformity assessment, is being strongly driven by large corporate business. This trend suggests that the pyramid of preferences usually used to depict EU trade policies is becoming very distorted.
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