The Role of the European Union in the International Trade and Investment Order

The Role of the European Union in the International Trade and Investment Order

The priority of the EU in the international trade and investment order is to provide leadership in supporting the open, rules-based order at a time when it faces its most severe test since the establishment of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) more than 70 years ago. An effective EU policy on international trade and investment is important for the EU in terms of ensuring access to future growth markets and promoting sustainable development. But at the time of major threats from both the United States and China, it is important for the EU to support an open, rules-based trading system.

But Steve Woolcock argues the EU cannot achieve this aim alone, and will need to cooperate with like-minded countries that share this broad aim. The EU’s capability to pursue a coherent policy in pursuit of these general aims requires the establishment of an effective trade policy regime that includes the Council of Ministers, European Commission, and European Parliament. It also requires the (re)establishment of a broad political consensus on the scope and aims of EU trade and investment policy, something that can only be achieved with the full engagement of member state governments and stakeholders in an informed debate.

Download the working paper here.

Dr Steve Woolcock is currently an Associate Professor in International Relations at the LSE where he teaches international political economy, the political economy of international trade, and economic diplomacy. His areas of expertise are international trade policy in general and European trade policy in particular. He is head of the LSE’s International Trade Policy Unit.

Keywords: European Union, trade policy, globalinvestment, GATT, rules-based trading system

Image by B.S. Halpern (T. Hengl; D. Groll) / Wikimedia Commons via CC BY-SA 3.0