EU Policy on Preferential Trade Agreements in the 2000s: A Reorientation towards Commercial Aims

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Series Details Vol.20, No.6, November 2014, p718–732
Publication Date November 2014
ISSN 1351-5993 (Print) / 1468-0386 (Online)
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This article forms part of a Special Issue: EU Free Trade Agreements and Fundamental Rights Protecting Commercial Interests or Exerting Normative Power?Abstract
The aim of this article is to provide a general introduction to EU policy on preferential trade agreements (PTAs) and thus to serve as a background for the more detailed discussion of the constitutional issues involved in EU PTAs. It starts with a description of how EU policy evolved during the 2000s, arguing that EU policy was predominantly driven by external or systemic factors in the international trading system and the EU's commercial response to these, rather than a policy shift driven by predominantly internal factors. This description is followed by a summary of the various motivations behind EU policy. The paper then discusses the content of the EU ‘model’ for PTAs. The term model needs to be used with some caution as the EU approach to PTAs has been fairly flexible and the content varies depending on the EU interests and those of its negotiating partner in any specific negotiation.

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ESO: Background information: Europe's Preferential Trade Agreements: Status, Content, and Implications

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