Norm Contestation in Modern Trade Agreements: Was the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership a “One-off”?

Part of the Norm Research in International Relations book series (NOREINRE)


The norm of free trade, and an open trading system, is central to the European Union. Yet, the EU’s promotion of free trade is not without internal criticism. Primarily, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations with the USA, and to an extent, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada, were strongly politicized. The authors argue that TTIP, in particular, was a special case. Modern trade agreements include negotiations on rules and regulations (deep integration), and civil society organizations (CSOs) employed effective lobbying techniques, framing strategies, and social media campaigns to raise public salience, awaken negative European perceptions of the USA, and promote mobilization against TTIP. This combination made the negotiations different from any other. EU trade negotiations with Japan were largely uncontroversial, and CETA only became salient when investor protection provisions in TTIP were also linked to CETA. As the chapter explains, while the EU still deems the promotion of free trade to be a fundamental norm, it has changed some of its standardized procedures and regulations on trade in response to intra-European opposition to TTIP.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.East Stroudsburg UniversityEast StroudsburgUSA
  2. 2.University of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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