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Title: The weak vs. the strong : African, Caribbean and Pacific countries negotiating free trade agreements with the European Union
Author: Jones, Emily
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis seeks to explain the outcomes of trade negotiations between the European Union (EU) and seventy-six of the world’s smallest developing countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific (ACP). Puzzlingly, in spite of its vastly greater economic size, the EU was, for the main, unable to realise its objective of concluding six broad and deep free trade agreements with these countries. Deploying first historical institutional analysis then statistical modelling and finally by scrutinising a wealth of primary documents and transcripts of interviews with negotiators, the thesis reveals three factors that influenced outcomes. First, coercive pressure applied by the EU on countries dependent on EU for trade preferences and aid. Second, tactics within the negotiating process, with some ACP countries and regions manoeuvring more effectively than others. Third, differences in the underlying preferences of ACP governments, with most opposing major aspects of the EU’s proposals, but a minority embracing the EPA approach. Probing the underlying reasons, the thesis finds that, contrary to the prevailing literature, lobbying by domestic economic interest groups only provides part of the answer – the analytical and ideational processes within ACP government institutions also exerted an influence. The analysis shows that structural factors, particularly the depth of economic and political dependence on the larger state, establish the range of likely outcomes from a given negotiation. However the preferences of small states and the way in which they interact strategically with the larger state can definitively shape the final outcome. In particular, small states can exercise a degree of resistance and blocking power that is often underestimated. It also sheds light on the formation of trade preferences in small developing countries and shows that in addition to lobbying by external groups, information and ideas within government bureaucracies appear to play an important role.
Supervisor: Woods, Ngaire Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Global economic governance ; International studies ; International trade negotiations ; international trade ; negotiation ; developing countries ; free trade agreement ; economic partnership agreement ; Africa ; Caribbean ; Pacific ; European Union