Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 97–110 | Cite as

The political economy of EU trade policy: what do we (not) know?

  • Aukje van Loon


What explains European Union (EU) trade policy? Around a decade ago, a special issue of the Journal of Common Market Studies devoted to the EU’s role in international trade negotiations acknowledged EU trade policy (EUTP) as a frequently neglected field of EU studies, with literature and research being slim (Dür and Zimmermann 2007, p. 772). With the EU depicted as a “formidable power in trade [and] through trade” (Meunier and Nicolaidis 2006, p. 907)1 and the EU’s increasing importance to international trade and trade policy’s centrality to the EU (Young and Peterson 2014, pp. 5–15), scholars’ indifference to studying one of the most important areas of EU external economic activities was considered to be remarkable. Academic interest in the oldest and most integrated policy of the EU has since grown tremendously, particularly because EU trade politics has seen alluring changes.

A surge of academic research into EU trade politics resulted from the involvement of new...


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chair of International Politics, Faculty of Social ScienceRuhr University BochumBochumGermany

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