Commercial Policy and International Security: The European Union as Soft Power
Purpose: This paper aims to demonstrate the relationships between the European Union’s common commercial policy and international security and to show that the common commercial policy pursued by the EU enables it to be the ‘soft power’ in the international scene. Specific objectives and related research areas encompass the evolution and strategic goals of the CCP, growing trade interdependencies with third countries because of pursuing the common commercial policy, the EU’s role in the multilateral trading system and the key provisions of agreements entered with third countries and their significance for the EU’s external trade. Design/Methodology/Approach: Empirical (indirect observation and description) and general methods, including deduction and induction, were used to achieve the aim of the study. Research techniques such as cause-and-effect, comparative, documentary, and synthesis were of great importance. To verify the thesis that bilateral and regional preferential agreements have risen in importance over the past two decades, the European Union’s volume of trade in goods has been juxtaposed with the volumes of third countries and broken down into countries covered by preferential trade agreements and other countries. To this end, the effective dates of individual agreements notified to WTO were considered. Given the availability of comparable data, the research covered the years 2002-2019. Findings: Bilateral and regional preferential agreements have risen in importance over the past two decades, the European Union’s volume of trade in goods has been juxtaposed with the volumes of third countries and broken down into countries covered by preferential trade agreements and other countries. Practical Implications: Security issues are especially important in today's world, for enterprises, societies, and states. From this point of view, the links between trade and trade policy are of practical importance. This, in turn, is of great importance for companies that carry out trade exchange. Originality/value: Publications on the common commercial policy usually concern its selected instruments, trade relations with third countries or the EU’s role in the multilateral trading system. They are often accompanied by empirical research on a given subject. This article is of a comprehensive nature and covers treaty-based commercial policy of the EU: preferential trade agreements, obligations in the multilateral trading system. A closer look at the literature reveals that there is no research into relationships between commercial policy (which concerns also the CCP) and international security, even though this issue is very relevant and current. Hence, the article aims to fill, at least partially, that research gap.