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European Union regulatory politics in the shadow of the WTO: A critical historical institutionalist perspective

De Ville, Ferdi (2011) European Union regulatory politics in the shadow of the WTO: A critical historical institutionalist perspective. [Conference Proceedings] (Submitted)

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    This paper focuses on an increasingly important aspect of European Union (EU) trade policy: the interface between internal regulation and international trade. More specifically it looks at how World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules influence regulatory politics in the EU. While WTO law has no direct effect, it is assumed by rational functionalists that its rules are enforced in a decentralized way by exporters that want to avoid retaliation against their exports resulting from a negative dispute ruling. I challenge the actual plausibility of this mechanism and offer an alternative perspective rooted in critical historical institutionalism. From this perspective it is argued that vague WTO rules may be used by interest groups and decision-makers as resources in domestic policy battles to oppose trade-restrictive/burdensome regulation. Such instrumentalization may in the long run lead to internalization and institutionalization of WTO rules but also strengthened opposition against the organisation. To empirically test the explanatory value of the proposed perspective I process-trace three decision-making processes on EU regulation of which WTO-consistency was contested: the trade in seal products ban, REACH, and a carbon border tax in the framework of the EU emissions trading scheme post-2013.

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    Item Type: Conference Proceedings
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > regulations/regulatory policies
    Other international institutions > GATT/WTO
    EU policies and themes > External relations > international trade
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2019 16:10
    Number of Pages: 24
    Last Modified: 31 Oct 2019 16:10

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