External Trade Policy

  • John Peterson
  • Elizabeth Bomberg
Part of the The European Union Series book series (EUS)


Civilian superpower? Economic giant? Political pygmy? Much controversy surrounds the question of how the European Union should be characterised as an international actor (see Peterson and Sjursen 1998a). There is no question that the EU is a major trading power.1 The Union accounts for about 40 per cent of all global trade. More than half of all EU trade is internal ‘trade’ within the internal market, but the Union is the single largest trading bloc in the world. For Sir Leon Brittan (1996: 20), the Trade Commissioner for most of the 1990s, trade policy ‘has been perhaps the finest advertisement for the pooling of national sovereignty since the European Community came into existence’.


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  1. 2.
    ‘Colbertiste’ is a label which, in our experience, French diplomats are often happy to use to refer to themselves. Jean-Baptiste Colbert was a 17th century French minister to Louis XIV who pioneered a ‘specially dirigiste form of mercantilism’ (Davies 1996: 618).Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    John Lawson of Salomon Smith Barney, quoted in Financial Times, 8 May 1998.Google Scholar
  3. 12.
    Quoted in Nugent (1994: 390).Google Scholar
  4. 14.
    Article 133 (113 before Amsterdam) specifically states that the Council ‘shall act by a qualified majority’, although the inclusion of services and intellectual property in the Round lent credibility to the French argument that they could use their veto. Webber (1998: 579) argues that the Uruguay Road ‘should be seen as a victory for France and therefore as evidence that the threat of a national veto has not yet become a “dull weapon” in the EU’.Google Scholar
  5. 15.
    The ‘TRIPs’ (‘trade-related intellectual property’) agreement extended global trade rules to the protection of patents, trademarks or copyright. It was a crucial building block of the Uruguay Round, especially as the number of goods embodying intellectual property rights — particularly in high-tech industries and pharmaceuticals — grew enormously in the years prior to the Round, as did incidences of counterfeiting or infringement (see Footer 1998: 327–8).Google Scholar
  6. 16.
    Quoted in Devuyst (1995: 462).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Peterson and Elizabeth Bomberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Peterson
  • Elizabeth Bomberg

There are no affiliations available

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