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Title: The EU-Japan relationship in the World Trade Organisation
Authors: Maruyama, Takao.
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: At the time when Japan was experiencing robust economic growth and Europe was accelerating its integration, a number of researchers noticed the importance of investing in their bilateral economic relationship, which was formerly obscured by their respective „special‟ relationships with the United States. When their trade frictions came to the surface, their trade relationship began to attract more attention. In the meantime, world trade entered a new phase with the creation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 1995. As the successor of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the WTO became a new arena for member countries to make trade agreements and solve trade frictions with their trade partners. In this thesis, we will investigate the relationship between the EU and Japan in the WTO. The thesis will look closely at social forces and investigate how various social forces have influenced the position of the EU and Japan, as well as the WTO. On top of that, we will also analyse how the function of the WTO has influenced the EU and Japan, and their relationship in the multilateral trading system. Trade conflicts have often been seen as trade tensions between national states. In fact, the WTO deals only with member countries (with the exception of the EU). However, trade tensions may well break out not between national states but between individual sectors, such as agriculture and steel, which sectoral interests then turn to their national states for support. This indicates that even trade friction is not simply antagonism between national states, but between national and transnational fractions of classes. States have been utilised by transnationally oriented dominant groups which intend to integrate their countries into emergent global capitalist structures. This thesis therefore raises questions about liberal trade theory concerning its serious gap between theory and actual practices, and suggests an alternative approach to structural issues of the state-centric approach to world politics. While we consult neo-liberal institutionalist theory to investigate the role of the WTO and its influence upon the EU-Japan relationship, we will analyse the interaction of various social forces within the EU and Japan from a neo-Gramscian perspective. In this way, we will try to direct attention to relations between social interests in the struggle for consensual leadership rather than concentrating solely on state dominance. Focusing on the role of international organisations and social forces, the aim of this thesis is to investigate how the EU and Japan have developed „coordinated action‟ and „joint negotiating stances‟ on particular trade issues, notably on agriculture and steel trade. Furthermore, as our central research iii questions, this thesis investigates what has been the overall effect of the WTO on the development of the EU-Japan trade relationship, as well as how the WTO has provided an impetus to promote certain patterns in EU-Japan relations. Through this thesis, I aim to contribute to the understanding of the roles of social forces in the interaction in international organisations.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

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