Archived Research


 

The Political Economy of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): Origins, Evolution, and Implications

 

Source: Reuters

The Berkeley APEC Study Center hosted a conference on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—a trade agreement currently being negotiated between the United States and the European Union. Scholars from Asia, Europe and the United States were invited to present papers and participate in discussions on the likely evolution of the TTIP in the current international political and economic context.

While there has been a sharp increase in the number of bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements in the context of declining WTO support, TTIP is unique in terms of members and nature. As opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which involves one leading trading power seeking to spread its ideas for trade rules to smaller industrialized and developing economies, the TTIP negotiations involve two parties—the United States and the European Union—with their own sets of entrenched and advanced regulatory structures. Furthermore, the nature of TTIP sets itself apart from other trade agreements. Outside of the important area of opening up public procurement contracts to foreign competition, the objectives of the TTIP negotiation relate more to regulatory alignment than to market access. Given the already low levels of tariffs on manufactured imports, TTIP’s potential for integrating markets through traditional trade reforms is limited.

Another conference on this subject was held in Brussels in October 2015.

On April 11, 2015, BASC hosted a conference at UC Berkeley which sought to investigate the following themes related to the TTIP: the dynamics of the lobbying and negotiation process both in the U.S. and the E.U.; efforts to design a TTIP in the context of other Mega-FTAs—TPP and RCEP—and the World Trade Organization (WTO); and the broader geopolitical and security context in which the negotiations are taking place (specifically its effect on trade agreements in Asia involving China, Japan, and Taiwan).Click here to access the conference’s agenda (updated as of April 9, 2015).

Sponsors: Major funding from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan, and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, in San Francisco. Additional sponsors include the Institute of East Asian Studies, the Berkeley APEC Study Center, the EU Center for Excellence, UC Berkeley, and the Clausen Center for International Business & Policy, UC Berkeley.


Mega-FTAs and the Global Political Economy

Scholars from the U.S., Asia, and Europe explore the dynamics of Mega-FTAs (Free Trade Agreements), with a primary focus on the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Since 1995 we have witnessed a rapid rise in the negotiation of bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), both by major powers such as the US, EU, China, and Japan, as well as by smaller and medium-sized economies such as Korea, Chile, Mexico, and Singapore. Over the last five years, we have seen initiatives to create so-called Mega-FTAs, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Among the questions addressed: What are the economic and political goals of countries that decide to participate in Mega-FTA negotiations? How do negotiation processes evolve in different political systems? What are the implications of regional Mega-FTAs for the regional security and political order?

This conference began on Friday, October 24 and ended on Saturday, October 25, 2014 at UC Berkeley.

Sponsors: Institute of East Asian Studies, Berkeley APEC Study Center, East-West Center (Honolulu), Clausen Center for International Business & Policy, Center for Chinese Studies , Center for Japanese Studies, and the EU Center for Excellence, UC Berkeley.


Industrial Policy in the Financial Crisis Era

Industrial policy is not new, but it seems to have enjoyed a revival in policymaking circles. While plenty of attention has been given to currency manipulation—whether it be currency pegs or competitive devaluations and so-called currency wars—much less attention has been given to industrial policymaking in recent years.
In this project a sectoral cut on industrial policy will be taken, to facilitate cross-country comparisons in motive, discrimination, and in potential beggar-thy-neighbor consequences. Berkeley APEC Study Center, with the generous support from the EU Center of Excellence at Berkeley, hosted two upcoming conferences in Berkeley on May 3, 2013 and in St. Gallen, Switzerland in the fall of 2013. Both of the meetings will provide policy recommendations to businesspeople and government officials who are intimately involved with many of these issues.
The first meeting commenced on May 3, 2013 in 370 Dwinelle Hall at the University of California, Berkeley.


China Rising: EU and US Responses to a Changing World Order

For the first time in a century, a set of large, populous and increasingly wealthy states—China, India and Russia—are on the cusp of achieving great-power status. These powers are entering an international system still governed by a “Western” conception of legal and political order and based on the primacy of post-World War II rules, drawn from liberal models of capitalism and democracy practiced in the U.S. and in Western Europe. In this context, the most important question facing the West over the next decade is this: What will be the relationship between the EU and the US vis-a-vis these rising powers? Will the transatlantic relationship become stronger, faced with this new geopolitical and geo-economic challenge? Or will the US and the EU—an increasingly prominent global player—compete for economic and political advantage? This issue goes far beyond the old “Mars vs. Venus” controversy: nothing less than the viability of the current international economic and political order, not to mention the health of the planet, rests on the answer.

On April 15-16, 2011, the Berkeley APEC Study Center organized the third in a series of conferences designed to explore the questions described above, with a particular focus on the rise of China and its challenge to a liberal international order dominated by Western powers. Successful conferences on the rise of Russia (2009) and India (2010) brought together US and international scholars to discuss the impact of these newly powerful states on the EU-US partnership and on EU and US relationships with the rising powers themselves. The April 2011 conference brought together prominent American, European, and Chinese scholars, working in each of the three dominant theoretical traditions (realism, liberalism, and constructivism) of international relations, to discuss these important questions.

The Friday and Saturday main conference commenced at 9:30 A.M. at the Institute of European Studies Seminar Room in 201 Moses Hall. The Friday evening panel and reception was held at 6:30 P.M. in the Institute of East Asian Studies (2223 Fulton Street, 6th Floor Conference Room).

» View Conference Schedule


Trade Security Conference: Linking Trade, Traditional Security, and Human Security

Trade policy and security policy are linked in complex ways that play a vital role in determining the nature of international politics. These linkages are not a new phenomenon; some analysts and practitioners have recognized the interconnectedness of trade and security policy since the days of 16th and 17th century mercantilism. However, contemporary international relations scholarship tends to deal with economics and security as separate spheres, largely neglecting the ways that these two areas affect one another.

To address this shortcoming, this project examined the influence of both traditional and human security factors in driving trade policy measures and the corresponding implications of different types of trade arrangements for international traditional and human security. In particular, we addressed several key gaps in the existing literature: (1) the concept of “human security” as a driver and potential result of trade arrangements, independent of and distinct from “traditional” security concerns; (2) the role of different types of trade arrangements (i.e. global, minilateral, or bilateral) in defining the nature of security-trade linkages; and (3) the concrete effects that trade arrangements have on the traditional and non-traditional security environment.

» View Conference Schedule


Nationhood and Nation-building in South Asia

Nation-building and nationalism are dynamic forces in South Asia, even after six decades of independence and still influenced by the colonial legacy of political, economic and cultural strategies of the British Raj. The different countries of South Asia have had some similar experiences (such as the rural-urban divide) and some different ones (politics, new media).   The two-day conference will discuss nationhood in the countries of South Asia from different perspectives – historical, political, economic, religious, literary, film, drama, cross-border, etc.

Click here to read more information about our conference, “Nationhood and Nation-building in South Asia,” held at Stanford University on April 28-30, 2010.


 

Responding to a Resurgent Russia

For the first time in a century, a set of large, populous and increasingly wealthy states—China, India and Russia—are on the cusp of achieving great-power status. These powers are entering an international system still governed by a “Western” conception of order and based on the primacy of post–World War II rules, drawn from liberal models of capitalism and democracy practiced in the U.S. and in Western Europe. In this context, the most important and most uncertain question facing the West over the next decade is this: What will be the relationship between the EU and the US vis-à-vis these rising powers? Will the transatlantic relationship hold and become stronger, faced with this new geopolitical and geo-economic challenge? Or will the US and the EU compete for economic and political advantage? The first phase of this three-year project examined these questions with respect to the rise of Russia and the political, economic and security issues that this shift raises for the transatlantic relationship. The second phase will bring scholars together for a conference on India in 2010 and on China in 2011.

Click here to read more information about our conference, “Responding to the Russian Challenge,” held at the UC Berkeley International House on April 2, 2009.

 

This two-year project brought together a diverse group of scholars to examine the domestic politics of policies toward East Asian regionalism, focusing on the interplay of ideas, domestic politics, and institutions. The latest installment of this project was a one-day conference on the UC Berkeley campus on December 19, 2008.

» View Conference Schedule


 

Northeast Asia’s New Institutional Architecture

This project investigates the origins and evolution of Northeast Asia’s new institutional architecture and community building, focusing on two sets of distinct but related aspects. The first concerns national strategies for a new institutional equilibrium and community building among key players in the region, including the U.S., China, Japan, the two Koreas, and Russia. The second examines the evolution of a new institutional architecture and community building in key functional issue areas, including trade, energy, environment, and security. We draw policy implications with attention to possible linkages among the key players across the functional issue areas. We believe that our scholarly efforts give us a unique perspective on the types of institutional solutions that may be feasible in Northeast Asia.

The results of this project were published in Northeast Asia? Ripe for Integration (2008), available for purchase at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.


 

Asia’s New Institutional Architecture

Can regional and interregional mechanisms better institutionalize the increasing complexity of economic and security ties among the nations in Northeast, Southeast, and South Asia? As the international state system undergoes dramatic changes in both security and trade relations in the wake of the end of the Cold War, the Asian financial crisis, and the attacks of 9-11, this question is now uppermost in the minds of both academics and policymakers. Still, little research has been done to integrate the analysis of security and economic analysis of changes in the region within a broader context that will give us theoretically-informed policy insights. We believe that an academically informed approach to the links between trade and security institutions and issues, guided by input from civil society groups and government officials, will give us a unique perspective on the types of institutional solutions that may be feasible in Asia. In doing so, our hope is to provide policymakers and analysts with an institutional road map that lies ahead.

The results of this project were published in Asia’s New Institutional Architecture: Evolving Structures for Managing Trade, Financial and Security Relations (2007), available for purchase at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.


 

Countries in the Asia-Pacific have become increasingly unreceptive to multilateral trade forums like the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) because of fears that such organizations cannot work effectively at mediating such a contentious issue. Instead, countries in the Asia-Pacific have begun to turn towards bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs). With this background in mind, our book explores three questions: Why does bilateralism develop? How will bilateralism evolve? And how will bilateralism affect other types of trade arrangements?

The results of this project were published in Bilateral Trade Agreements in the Asia-Pacific (2006), available for purchase at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.


 

With the support of the Institute of European Studies at U.C. Berkeley, BASC initiated a project that considers “transregionalism” as an emerging level of international trade relations. In particular, it studies the effect on EU trade strategies of the growing importance of new economy firms and the halt in progress in global trade negotiations. Will the EU give priority to “bilateral” relationships with East Asia, Mercosur, and others in the absence of a new WTO round? This project analyzes whether incipient EU transregionalism will make a lasting impression on the changing face of international trade.

The results of this project were published in European Union Trade Strategies: Between Regionalism and Globalism (2005), available for purchase at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.


 

The 1990s witnessed widening divergence among the responses of Latin American countries to trends in the international economy. Changes in the language of regional affairs, which increasingly differentiates between a North America that includes Mexico and a South America dominated by Brazil, indicate the profound impact Mexico’s NAFTA membership may have on intra-American relations. In recent years, Mexico has signed free trade agreements with Costa Rica and Chile, and the European Union. Transregional free trade with Europe as well as other regions would provide some amount of balance in Mexico’s trade profile, which is overwhelmingly dependent on the US market. A conference at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, D.C. on September 24, 2001 convened experts from across the Americas to discuss the implications of these various alternatives, and offer their perspectives on the nature and implications of this increasing divergence in strategic policies.

The results of this project were published in The Strategic Dynamics of Latin American Trade (2004), available for purchase at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.