Two and a half years after it entered into force, it is time to give a first assessment of its impact in one of SUES most autonomous policy areas: trade. To narrow it down even more, I will focus on the bilateral free trade agreements (Fats). Reasoning behind my choice lies in the fact that the further liberalizing of world economies through the World Trade Organization (WTFO), and more specifically the Doth rounds have stalled. We have witnessed a proliferation of Fats with the EX. being the leader in this area.
It can in fact be argued that these Fats have become the Sues main instrument in its external read policy (Backing 2010). With the sovereign debt crisis raging on, these agreements become even more instrumental to the further growth of the EX. economy as they open the economies of the partner states to the EX. companies and capital. Main question I wish to answer in this thesis focuses on the supranational, EX. level, and namely the inter-institutional relations between EX. institutions.
The main objective is to find out how the TOOL impacted the relations between actors in different EX. institutions that have a say in the field of bilateral trade negotiations and how much this institutional change affected the way in which he EX., and namely the Commission, handles the negotiations. To answer these two questions I will use a combination of rational and normative institutionalism for my theoretical framework.
I believe that this combination is the only possible approach through which it is possible to analyze both the actions taken by the institutional actors to adapt to the new institutional framework, and the impact that the TOOL has had on the norms and values of these institutions. This is especially important in light of the fact that the TOOL calls for more legitimacy, transparency and mechanization of the ELI, and has particular instruments embedded into the Treaty to push further forward these ideas.
Not much has been written regarding this subject, especially from the institutional perspective. Main articles concerning the impact of TOOL on Sues trade policy were written when the Treaty Just entered into force and were more of a predictions nature (Wolcott 2010, Dimensions 2010). They tried to predict or explain now TOOL will impact Sues Common Commercial Policy (ICP). In 2011 an article was published that took stock of how TOOL impacted common commercial policy as a whole (Galilean 2011).
But nothing yet has been written regarding its real impact on bilateral trade negotiations. Therefore, I believe that this thesis will fill a gap that exists in research regarding both the institutional framework of the EX. and its policy-decision making after the TOOL. This article builds on Hillocks predictions and Salesman’s findings, by providing a focused insight into one of trade policy most neglected areas.
Even more importantly, I believe that through the use of institutional theory in inter-institutional relations we can achieve a new level of understanding of the way actors in EX. institutions are adapting to the ewe legal framework that is now in existence. Also, this thesis should provide researchers with a clear understanding of the way the TOOL impacted inter- institutional relations regarding bilateral trade negotiations and how that has impacted the negotiating process.
To analyze its impact I will focus on all three main institutional players in bilateral trade negotiations, the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council and the relationships between them. Through the use of primary and secondary literature and interviews with EX. officials I will paint a picture of the way ELI, and namely the Commission, conducts its negotiations ND the way inter-institutional relations impact those negotiations. Main bulk of this thesis will concern itself with the case study, which will be the FAT negotiations between the EX. and India.
These negotiations have been chosen because they started in 2007, and although they have not been concluded yet, they provide a great insight into the way the inter-institutional relations have changed post-TOOL, and how these changes have influenced the negotiations themselves. This thesis is organized as follows. After the introduction, I will start by providing a chapter grading the theoretical framework in which I will elaborate on the institutional theories that I will use.
In it the methodology that will be used will be provided, namely the case study of the Ell-India FAT negotiations and explain the three main dimension of analysis that I have chosen to measure the impact of the TOOL on the post-Lisbon institutional setting. I will continue by providing a chapter consisting of a brief overview of the main changes that the TOOL has brought to ICP with more focus being given to those changes that have a chance to impact bilateral trade negotiations.
I will also provide some main ways in which EX. institutions have adapted to these changes and an overview of the way the EX. conducts its bilateral trade negotiations. I will then proceed with the case study itself which will be the third chapter. After providing a brief context to the negotiations, I will analyze the three chosen dimensions. I will then conclude with a short discussion about the questions asked in the introduction, possible developments in the future and offer potential implications for future research.