chapter  11
14 Pages

Commissioning imperialism

EU trade deals under neoliberalism
WithMark Dearn

The European Union (EU) trade agenda reflects a continuity of purpose much like nineteenth-century British free trade imperialism. Under neoliberalism, as under liberalism, informal imperialism maintains hegemony through controlling market expansion, the ceaseless extraction of natural resources and the super-exploitation of labour in the periphery. Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) arrived at a critical juncture, when EU neoliberal constitutionalism was pre-eminent in ensuring politics could not override free market imperatives. TTIP highlights the shift in agents and beneficiaries from liberal to neoliberal free trade imperialism, and the paramount role of the EU and its member states in externalising the EU internal process of removing political control over economic policies through law. Metropole state dissembling was reinforced by supranational agents including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund – which incorporated investment measures into structural adjustment packages – and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.