chapter  4
13 Pages

Adaptation and change in EU trade governance

The EU’s paradigm shift from multilateralism to regionalism and bilateralism
WithEugénia da Conceição-Heldt

European Union (EU) trade governance has undergone a radical shift. Dis-appointed with the slowness of multilateral trade negotiations, EU member states gave the Commission a negotiating mandate to resume negotiations with Mercosur and to begin bilateral trade negotiations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries, South Korea, India, China, Russia, Canada, Central America and the Andean countries. This chapter provides an overview of EU trade policy with special focus on how and why the EU joined the run towards bilateral and regional trade agreements and what are the most important political-economic issues that have contributed to fostering regionalism to the detriment of multilateralism. It focuses on the EU's role in the global trade regime. The chapter illustrates the EU's shift towards regionalism and bilateralism and how it uses its material and social power in block-to-block negotiations and bilateral trade negotiations.