European Union - Asia-Pacific Trade Relations: Tentative Bilateralism amidst Competing Plurilateral Initiatives

Romanian Journal of European Affairs. 2016;16(4):32-47


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Journal Title: Romanian Journal of European Affairs

ISSN: 1582-8271 (Print); 1841-4273 (Online)

Publisher: European Institute of Romania

LCC Subject Category: Political science: Political science (General)

Country of publisher: Romania

Language of fulltext: Romanian, English

Full-text formats available: PDF



Beatriz Pérez de las Heras


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 16 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

This paper analyses major current trends in EU trade policy and their impact on the Asia-Pacific region. It explains how after being a guardian of multilateralism for many years, the EU is currently negotiating bilateral Free Trade Agreements with countries in the area while important and competing trade initiatives are also emerging amongst these nations. The fact that the EU is not a party to any of these plurilateral projects jeopardises its goal of becoming an active player in this challenging geopolitical landscape. Moreover, the political conditionality linked to EU trade diplomacy is generally not welcomed by these countries, which are becoming increasingly more economically and politically assertive. The divergent trade agendas of Member States further complicate any joint EU policy in the region. In light of these factors, political conditionality needs to be revised to provide more flexibility to global dialogue with these countries and a genuinely common trade strategy must be defined for the EU to leverage more effective influence and involve itself in regional integration deals in Asia-Pacific.