EUTRAP - Framework Research Project "EU Trade Policy" - European Parlament


Scope: Framework service contract to provide external expertise on Foreign Policy: Lot 7 Trade Policy to the European Parliament, notably the Committee on International Trade


Budget: 650.000 EUR (excl. VAT) –


Call text:


Further to providing expertise to the EP on trade policy issues between December 2009 and September 2013, the consortium of the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Universities of Maastricht and Innsbruck (ICER), the Centre for European Policy Studies (Brussels), the Centre for Social and Economic Research (Warsaw), the Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft (Cologne), the Istituto per gli studi di politica internazionale (Milan) and the Overseas Development Institute (London) have been selected to continue advising the Committee on International Trade for the period of 2014-2018.

The consortium of institutions involved builds on a core group of the leading experts in international trade and investment and EU trade policy. This group of individuals, as well as the institutions in which they are based, have worked closely together on previous trade-related research projects including, but by no means only, those under a previous framework contract with the European Parliament. This facilitates an ease of cooperation within the group. In addition to its own experts, each participating institution brings with it a group of affiliated experts that are engaged in work on international trade policy, broadening both the geographical spread of colleague’s operations, as well as expertise. The consortium members are all active in international trade and investment policy networks and therefore work with leading experts outside the EU.


a.       Andreas MAURER, Thomas WALLI, Kief ALBERS, Anna SANTOLIN and Philipp UMEK: Status, Überprüfungsmaßstab und Vergleichsanalyse des Gemeinsamen Auslegungsinstruments und der einseitigen Protokollerklärungen zum Umfassenden Wirtschafts- und Handelsabkommen zwischen Kanada einerseits und der Europäischen Union und ihren Mitgliedstaaten andererseits


Abstract: Gegenstand des Gutachtens ist die Frage nach der rechtlichen und politischen Bedeutung des Gemeinsamen Auslegungsinstruments (GAI) und der Protokollerklärungen, die der Rat der EU (i.F. Rat), die Kommission oder einzelne Mitgliedstaaten der EU anläßlich der Unterzeichnung des zwischen der EU und Kanada geschlossenen Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (i.F. CETA) abgegeben haben.

b.      Andreas MAURER: Comparing EU and EFTA Trade Agreements: Drivers, Actors, Benefits, and Costs


Abstract : EFTA states have built up a network of 26 preferential trade agreements (PTAs) with 37 partners, compared to more than 120 trade agreements concluded by the EU with more than 45 partners. There are substantial differences between EU and EFTA PTAs in terms of scope and ambition. EFTA agreements still focus on traditional areas of market access, while the post-1990 EU agreements are more elaborate, values-driven, political and comprehensive. As a bloc, the EU has more leverage when it negotiates around the world. The size of its market and its highly developed common policies mean that the EU can bring more to the negotiating table and has stronger tools to enforce its economic interests and political conditions compared to the smaller EFTA states whose political and economic cooperation is limited. Although the EFTA states do not form a customs union like the EU, they usually negotiate PTAs as a group, bringing their combined economic and political weight to bear. However, they retain the right to reach bilateral trade agreements with third countries outside the EFTA framework, such as Switzerland's PTAs with Japan and China, and Iceland's bilateral PTA with China. EFTA's small size nonetheless has some benefits. Since EFTA states are not so constrained by — often diverging — interests they can be more flexible in their negotiations. In some cases EFTA has concluded trade deals relatively quickly compared to the EU, but this has been at the expense of relatively shallow trade agreements.

c.       Christopher HARTWELL, Jan TERESIŃSKI, Bartosz RADZIKOWSKI and Karolina BEAUMONT: Comparison of the EU Service Offers for the TTIP and TiSA Negotiations

Abstract: A comparison of the services offers which the European Union has made for the negotiations on the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) shows that, in general, both treaties follow similar approaches and points of difference are minor; both TiSA and TTIP apply a positive listing approach in regards to market access and negative listing in regards to national treatment, and the rules governing market access and national treatment do not differ between the two agreements. The most significant differences in sector-specific provisions are featured in the transport sector and educational services, while the highest harmonisation of provisions is in the energy sector and communications. Overall, the service provisions in TiSA and TTIP are very similar, although it seems that the level of trade liberalization is higher is TiSA.

d.      Stephen WOOLCOCK, Taylor ST JOHN and Elitsa GARNIZOVA: The Implications of International Economic and Financial Governance Agenda for EU Trade and Investment Policy


Abstract: Many of the rules, norms, principles and practices that are central to EU trade and investment policy today have been influenced by a wide range of different types of international organisations (IOs). This influence occurs through formal rulemaking, voluntary codes of conduct or standards, the provision of technical and scientific expertise or the dissemination of research and best practice. The influence is pervasive and decisions taken years ago in IOs can shape EU trade policy today. With the difficulties facing multilateral approaches to rulemaking in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) the impact of other IOs has increased.

e.      Samuel R. SCHUBERT, Elina BRUTSCHIN and  Johannes POLLAK:  Trade in Commodities, Obstacles to Trade and Illegal Trade


Abstract: Free trade in raw materials is of great importance for the EU. China remains the EU’s main supplier of critical raw materials and thus concentrates on the most recent evidence on its export restrictions. Despite recent WTO rulings, China is still implementing a wide range of trade distorting measures in the form of export licensing or through the introduction of a resource tax. While we can trace certain welfare benefits for the Chinese domestic market following the introduction of export restrictions, we can clearly relate increasing illegal trade outflow from China to its restrictive trade policies. While the use of the WTO provides one of the most straightforward mediums to offset trade distortions, more effective measures include the addition of explicit clauses on critical raw materials in bilateral trade agreements and a strong regulatory framework in the member states prohibiting imports of conflict or illegal raw materials.

f.        Christopher HARTWELL: Cross-Cutting Effects of the EU´s Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) on Developing Economies


Abstract: The world has seen rapid growth of preferential trade and investment agreements (PTAs) that, by definition, aim to go beyond the existing WTO obligations of the parties. With this growth comes the danger of incompatible obligations as these PTAs overlap within a country. This study examines the sources of overlap in various PTAs and the compliance costs that PTAs may create for a developing country, with a special focus on the agricultural realm. Examining the reality of divergent SPS standards, we conclude that better-targeted “Aid for Trade” and regulatory streamlining within the EU can help to mitigate compliance costs in developing countries. Additionally, involvement of the private sector at an earlier stage in PTA negotiations may also help to clarify compliance costs and build their mitigation into the agreements.

g.       Andreas MAURER: Comparative Study on Access to Documents (and Confidentiality Rules) in International Trade Negotiations


Abstract: It is extremely difficult to strengthen parliamentary oversight of the EU’s trade policies without clear and predictable rules and procedures for the EP to access relevant information from the Commission and the Council. This study provides an overview on the rules guaranteeing access to information in international trade negotiations both in the EU and in selected third countries. It evaluates the existing arrangements on access to information by Parliament in view of the provisions included in the Treaty of Lisbon, international norms and agreements, EU case-law, and similar rules, arrangements and practices in a group of national parliaments.

EUTRAP - Kick Off Conference

Kick-Off Conference proceedings

The European Parliament in external trade and investment policy:  five years after the Lisbon Treaty – European Parliament, 23 September 2014


1.     EU Trade and Investment Policy 2010-2014: What changed for the Commission under the Lisbon Treaty, speech by Karel De Gucht, European Commissioner for Trade

KDG speech at LSE conference

2.     Empowering the European Parliament in the EU’s Common Commercial Policy – Perspectives of the next Framework Agreement , Andreas Maurer, University of Innsbruck Perspectives of the next Framework Agreement paper

Interinstitutional Agreements (IIAs) have been concluded between the Council of the European Union, the Commission and the EP (EP) ever since the founding of the European Economic Community. Despite the fact that they are an established part of the mass of informal and formal rules structuring EU decision-making and interinstitutional relations, there is as yet no common understanding of their role and functions in the institutional and legal system of the EU - neither in political science nor legal studies. The legal nature of IIAs is the subject of disagreement among legal scholars; IIAs form part of the grey area of the EU’s nomenclature of norms, which has been referred to in both legal and political science literature with terms such as soft law or informal conventions etc. Albeit non-binding in a strict legal sense, there is minimal agreement on the fact that IIAs are in effect politically binding - at least for the signing parties. Linked to this argument there is evidence that the EP strategically uses IIAs as instruments to wrest competencies from the Council and the Commission. This argument forms the focus of this paper article. Having had no formal say in treaty reform up to the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the EP ‘created facts’ through informal but politically binding IIAs hoping that, once established, its new rights would be later codified at IGCs. Thus, IIAs pre-define future treaty reforms. Indeed, from the early 1990s onwards, MEPs themselves acknowledged that they conclude IIAs in the hope that they will 'sow the seeds for future treaty reforms'.  In what follows I will look at two areas in which IIAs figure prominently with regard to the EU's Common Commercial Policy: we track the evolution of the EP’s participation in international agreements as well as the informal rules governing its relations with the Commission. The last part summarizes our analysis and checks our empirical findings against the theoretical assumptions.

3.     The role of parties: past performance and prospects for the 2014-19 Parliament. International trade and investment agreements after the EU elections: lengthier negotiations, smaller scope?, Doru Frantescu; Vote Watch Europe


Since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the European Parliament’s consent to the international trade agreements is mandatory. This means that the EP cannot amend the deal signed by the Commission, it can only reject it or adopt it as it stands. However, the EP does have a fair level of influence over the outcome of the deals. In fact, the EP’s recommendations often state the no-go (or the should-go) zones, making it clear that if the EC does not take into account the position of the EP, the Members of the Parliament may eventually reject the trade agreement as a whole, provided a simple majority of them votes against. In the post-elections European Parliament, the rise of the far-left and the far-right, combined with the smaller size compared to the past term of the centrist groups EPP, S&D and ALDE, is likely to have an impact on how the trade agreements will be negotiated. Overall, the results of the European elections and the new EP will have complex implications on the developments of international trade affairs in the next five years, at a time when the Union is working to find ways of increasing its leverage in the global market as a means for boosting its own economic recovery.

4.     Differentiating Trade Instruments to Promote Development: What role for the European Parliament? , Jodie Keane and Raphaëlle Faure; Oversees Development Institute, London

ODI presentation/ ODI draft paper

The EP has gained new powers since 2009, and parliamentarians have used them to better protect EU citizen's rights and liberties in free trade agreements and to promote policy coherence for development for example, even if the results have been mixed. The EP has also made a series of commitments and taken measures to enhance PCD through its internal work, but inconsistencies remain and silo mentalities across different parliamentary committees hinder its effectiveness. In parallel to these institutional changes, the international trade landscape continues to change and the variety of trade partners is growing. In response to this new environment, the EU has made changes to its trade policy, raising concerns among MEPs as they fear the poorest countries' interests and the EU's development cooperation are being undermined. This points to a need for differentiated instruments that can be tailored to the different characteristics of the EU's trading partners. In the next five years, the newly elected MEPs will have the opportunity to influence a series of trade challenges and to help develop the right toolbox, allowing the EU to engage with all its partners in a way that is coherent and that supports its other non-trade policies such as its development policy. We identify a number of areas where the EU, with the help of the EP, should take steps to increase the coherence across EU policies.

5.     Coherence for Governance: The European Parliament and Trade and Investment Policy , Christopher A. Hartwell; CASE – Centre for Social and Economic Research

Coherence in Trade and Investment Policy Paper / Trade investment presentation

The idea of policy coherence has gained visibility as a principle of European Union policymaking over the past decade. However, coherence is still lacking in the EU’s external trade and investment policies, due to the myriad of competing interests within the Union and a lack of a clear focus on what the end result of EU trade policies should be. This paper argues that policy coherence can be achieved by a return to the founding and uniting principles of the European Union, with the EU re-vitalizing its original mandate of fostering liberalized trade and investment. This mission should be augmented with a principle of “coherence for governance,” providing governance assistance and conditionality alongside completion of free-trade agreements or investment agreements to maximize impact of trade liberalization. Institutionally, the European Parliament has a substantial role to play in this process, as both overseer and guarantor of consistency.

6.     Achieving Coherence? Trade and foreign policy towards Russia, Ukraine, & the Eastern partners , Iana Dreyer; Analyst, ex European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) Dreyer outline

Coherence between the EU’s trade policy strategy in its Eastern neighbourhood and foreign policy is very difficult to achieve. There are several reasons. The Lisbon Treaty has not eliminated the bloc’s institutional and legal fragmentation of the EU’s relevant policy areas (CFSP, energy security, trade). Energy dependency issues, divergent strategic and economic interests among member states vis-à-vis Russia but also Ukraine, have also complicated decision-making. There is no new strategy vis-à-vis Europe’s East in a moment of economic crisis and resurgence of Russia on the geopolitical arena. The Eastern Europe question is still overshadowed by Enlargement, the EU’s most powerful foreign policy of the last decades. But the ‘Enlargement’ model is now in crisis. The Eastern Partnership of 2008 (‘enlargement light’) builds on a legacy of EU ‘acquis communautaire’ export in trade agreements that has proven highly problematic for political reasons (no enlargement perspective), practical reasons (state capacity in countries like Ukraine), and in relations towards Russia (Ukraine crisis, tripartite negotiations with Russia over DCFTA). The EU will continue to remain a fragmented policy actor. However, it can review its priorities and objectives towards Russia and Ukraine, and other Eastern Partners. Some of its policy instruments, notably trade instruments, could then be used more effectively than so far. 

7.     Future challenges for EU trade and investment policy , Steve Woolcock; LSE

The Challenges Facing EU Trade and Investment Policy

The challenges facing EU trade policy come at three broad levels. The first relates to domestic policy-making and autonomous policy measures when EU policymaking must strengthen the ‘domestic’ consensus on the aims and objectives of external trade and investment policy.  In this the role of the European Parliament is likely to assume an even more central role than it has played to date. In negotiating preferential agreements the challenge for the EU is to continue to support a balanced agenda that reflects EU norms, such as on regulatory standards and sustainability, whilst satisfying the need to ensure that EU exporters have broadly equivalent access to their international competitors. At the multilateral or global level the challenge is to ensure that the WTO rules-based system remains viable and the trading system is open and inclusive. This means strengthening the WTO’s ability to address current and new trade issues, but also measures to ensure that the growing number of preferential agreements can be incorporated into an open trading system.

8.     Trade effects of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, Elisa Borghi, Rodolfo Helg and Lucia Tajoli; ISPI – Milan

Draft paper / Presentation

In this paper we estimate the trade effects of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership by means of a gravity model. Even if making some assumptions related to the specificity of this trade agreement, our results are in line with the existing studies, implying unambiguously that a significant increase in trade is expected to follow a positive conclusion of the negotiation. Furthermore, the impact of the agreement increases significantly as the depth and the scope of the agreement grows. The results also show that there is a small but significant trade diversion effect, meaning that the agreement between the EU and the US could produce a small reduction in trade with other areas. But given the much smaller coefficient of trade diversion compared to the trade creation effect, the expected net effect on trade remains strongly positive.






- Pademia (Parliamentary Democracy in Europe):

- MILDIPA (Jean Monnet Projekt)

- Handbuch Europäisches Parlament

- EU Sanctions Policies (Diss.Projekt v. Martina Fürrutter)

- EU Gas Market (Diss. Projekt v. J. Pingerra)

- Albaniens EU-Politik (Diss. Projekt v. W. Weigart)