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"Internal Weakness as External Strength: European Integration and Agricultural Trade Liberalization in GATT"

Meunier, Sophie. (1995) "Internal Weakness as External Strength: European Integration and Agricultural Trade Liberalization in GATT". In: UNSPECIFIED, Charleston, South Carolina. (Unpublished)

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    How has the degree of institutional integration in Europe affected the bargaining strength of the European Community (EC) in international negotiations? In other words, does unity bring strength? This paper explores how internal divisions in the EC have impacted the process and outcomes of the Kennedy and Uruguay Rounds of GATT negotiations on agricultural trade liberalization between the European Community and the United States. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that degree of integration and external bargaining strength are positively correlated, this paper determines the conditions under which regional integration can be used as an asset or a liability in international negotiations. It argues that the EC external bargaining strength depends on the voting rules and practices at the EC level, the amount of flexibility granted to EC negotiators, and the nature of demands in external negotiations. Comparison of the US-EC negotiations on agricultural trade liberalization in the Kennedy and Uruguay Rounds suggests, indeed, that the intensification of integration in Europe has not been accompanied by a similar intensification of the EC bargaining strength vis-à-vis the US. The negotiating processes in the two rounds are examined in detail and it is concluded that it is when acting divided and unable institutionally to negotiate that the EC obtained its most favorable results. The EC bargaining position was enhanced in the earlier years because partially coordinated positions of the EC within a weak supranational polity rendered credible the threat that it would be unable to offer concessions. In a second phase of the intergration process, by contrast, the institutional constraints are fading and internal concessions made for perserving the solidarity of the integrated entity no longer seem necessary. As a result, its negotiating positions are less prone to capture by a radical country and the negotiators for the union may find themselves in a lower bargaining position than in the first period. Policy implications of these findings are examined in the conclusion.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: Other international institutions > GATT/WTO
    EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-US
    EU policies and themes > External relations > international trade
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > agriculture policy
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 1995 (4th), May 11-14, 1995
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2008
    Page Range: p. 38
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:47

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