San Bilal, Bernard Hoekman, 31 July 2019

In today’s rapidly evolving and uncertain trade context, the EU has to reposition itself, adapting its trade and external policies to better pursue its economic interests, but also to achieve its political, geostrategic, developmental, environmental, and principles-based objectives. This column introduces a new eBook that brings together perspectives on such questions as whether the EU has been effective in its pursuit of non-trade policy objectives relating to standards, values, sustainability and development, and if so, whether this has been at the expense of more traditional trade policy objectives.

Giuseppe Berlingieri, Holger Breinlich, Swati Dhingra, 12 March 2018

There has been a surge in the number of trade agreements over the past two decades. This column investigates the impact of trade agreements implemented by the EU between 1993 and 2013 and asks how consumers benefit from such agreements. The evidence shows that trade agreements increased quality by 7% on average but did not affect prices or variety. This translates into a cumulative reduction in consumer prices of 0.24%, equivalent to savings of €24 billion per year for EU consumers. Higher-income EU countries enjoyed much stronger quality increases and larger overall consumer benefits.

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