Trading Voices: The European Union in International Commercial Negotiations

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Trading Voices: The European Union in International Commercial Negotiations

By Sophie Meunier
Princeton University Press, 2005
248 pp. $35.00
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The European Union has come to rival -- indeed, to exceed -- the United States in the complexity (and lack of transparency) of its decision-making. This book explains how decision-making has evolved over time in the EU's principal area of competence, foreign trade negotiations, and how different institutional arrangements for EU decision-making have influenced the EU's bargaining with the United States. Four episodes are examined in detail: agricultural negotiations from 1964 to 1967 (the Kennedy Round), agricultural negotiations from 1986 to 1993 (the Uruguay Round), negotiations from 1990 to 1994 over introducing foreign competition into the granting of public contracts, and negotiations over civil aviation, especially the open-skies agreements, from 1992 to 2003. Meunier provides clear descriptions of the substantive issues involved, discusses how European political considerations were strongly influenced by decision-making arrangements, and assesses to what extent these institutional features influenced the outcome of the negotiations. The book focuses heavily on processes, demonstrating how important they can be; it does not attempt to assess the affect of the outcomes on the well-being of Europeans.