Politics and Trade

[ GO-EuroMed ]

[ Ph.D Max Büge ]

Nested Institutions, Overlapping Systems, Cross Cutting Regimes - From Matryoshkas and Olympic Rings: The Impact of the WTO on the EU’s Preferential Trade Agreements

Brief Information
Corresponding Researcher Max Büge
Type of Project Ph.D
Status ongoing
Duration 3 years
Completed 2009

The objective of this research project is to shed light on the determinants of the European Union's agenda setting process for concluding or reframing preferential trade agreements with third countries. A number of European countries - at the moment 25 - form the world's most coherent and institutionalised regional bloc: the EU. Accounting for over 20 per cent of total world trade, the EU represents the world's largest single trading entity. The EU as an institution has entered the world's largest and most complex multilateral trade liberalisation arrangement: the WTO. All of the EU's member states are also members of the WTO in their own right. The EU has entered into and renegotiated a number of PTAs with third countries. This regional engagement has led to the EU having 'the most extensive network of PTAs of any WTO member (A. Panagaryia ]2002]: "EU Preferential Trade Agreements and Developing Countries," World Economy, 25, 1415-1432). Some of the Third Countries involved are also members of the WTO, while others are not. The EU's PTAs with Third Countries are therefore nested in, overlapping with and cutting across with the WTO's institutional design. Max Büge aims to develop and to test the hypothesis that the World Trade Organization's institutional design has a decisive impact on the existence, the scope and the depth of these nesting, cross-cutting and overlapping PTAs. Hence, his PhD aims to develop new insights into how changes within the multilateral system affect the EU's PTAs. To test my model I will apply triangulation, which is the use of both, quantitative and qualitative methods. Mr. Büge will use contemporary econometric methods to test wether there is a correlation between changes of the WTO and changes within the EU's PTAs. To reveal causal mechanisms that explain (or contradict!) my hypotheses he will use case study analysis.