Geo-economic Motives and the Negotiation of Free Trade Agreements: Introduction

Johan Adriaensen, Evgeny Postnikov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


As the US is withdrawing its commitment to the liberal order, as emerging powers are increasingly assertive over trade, and as the noodle bowl of overlapping agreements is set to create regional competition, it is increasingly evident that trade policy has entered the arena of high politics. Yet, the research paradigms that dominate the discipline of IPE are primarily focused on explaining international trade policy outcomes by prioritizing domestic political factors. The flourishing literature on the design of preferential trade agreements has been particularly silent on the broader geo-economic context within which such agreements are made, despite the implicit acknowledgement of relative gains as a key driver of bilateralism. Drawing on insights from the literature on foreign policy analysis, we develop a novel conceptualization of geo-economics, adapted to the study of free trade agreements. In this introductory chapter, we present a research framework to systematically assess the extent to which geo-economic motives affect the negotiation and design of the EU’s free trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Geo-Economic Turn in Trade Policy?
EditorsJohan Adriaensen, Evgeny Postnikov
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-81281-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-81283-6, 978-3-030-81280-5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Publication series

SeriesEuropean Union in International Affairs

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