Anti-Americanism in French Preference Formation on Trade Liberalization', paper presented at the Council for European Studies
Montreal : [S.n.]
Presentation at the Council for European Studies, 16 april 2010
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Politicologie t/m 2019
SubjectInstitute for Management Research
It is commonly claimed that in France agricultural organizations dominate national preference formation not only when it comes to domestic agricultural policy, but also with respect to international agricultural policy developed in the context of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT). This paper will take issue with that common claim and will argue that it was not so much farm lobby pressure, but instead ideational factors among which French anti-Americanism that had a strong impact on the French preferences with respect to the launching of the GATT Uruguay Round (1986-1993) as well as on the French position taking concerning the agricultural chapter in these negotiations. The data analysis in this case study will show that anti-Americanism influenced French preference formation in at least three ways. In the first place, French distrust of the United States, present among both the governing elite and society at large, was one of the reasons of the reserved initial French reaction to the plans for a new GATT Round. If these plans originated from the United States, there had to be a snag somewhere. Secondly, at a more ideational level, meeting the demands of the United States to subject agricultural trade to greater GATT discipline and to introduce a free market system in agricultural trade (under the threat that the United States would otherwise seek bilateral or regional instead of multilateral trade solutions) did not only clash with the French agricultural policy paradigm and her ideas of managed trade, but giving in to the demands was also considered to be inappropriate on the basis of the French image of itself as the leading nation within a strong Europe, negotiating on an equal footing with the United States. Finally, at the political level, both societal actors and government officials successfully tapped into anti-American rhetoric in the preference-formation process when arguing against compromises, by depicting these compromises as carrying a clear United States mark, and by arguing that accepting these compromises would mean going down on ones knees for the United States.
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