Topics of the YES! 2016

It’s your economy. You are the economy.


Your Economy


Trade Agreements

Making Trade Agreements Work for Citizens. How an Ideal Trade Agreement Could Look Like

Trade agreements though being targeted to raise the welfare of all participants are increasingly difficult to negotiate between countries. A global agreement which includes all countries like the Doha Round is stuck in an impasse for more than a decade. But also bilateral agreements like the agreement between the EU and the US (TTIP) face enormous resistance. What is new compared to previous agreements is that not only the “usual culprits” of vested interest groups like domestic producers fight against opening borders to new competitors. The new source of resistance is the well-informed citizen. He or she fears a de-democratization of rulemaking, a race to the bottom in consumer protection, a degradation of social standards and the violation of environmental sustainability.


Unlike in the past when trade agreements were decided at the producer level with a strong mercantilist undertone ( “exports are good but imports costs jobs”), the agreement of the future has to include the citizen as a stakeholder form the very beginning. The divergence of his interests from being a consumer, a job owner, a campaigner for public goods like the environment to simply a sceptic against too rapid globalization requires compromises between conflicting targets like efficiency, equity and fairness.


How could an ideal trade agreement look like under such preconditions? Should it be bilateral, multilateral (with more than two partners) or global? Should it address conflicting targets or should it concentrate on efficiency goals like in the past leaving other objectives to other agreements? Should it be reversible or irreversible? Who should be the guardian or trustee of those parties who do not sit in the negotiation room?



A selection of literature has been compiled by our team of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics in the following list. You can use EconBiz to research further information and literature.

The project group of the Alexander-von-Humboldt-Schule Neumünster is working on the topic “Making trade Agreements Work for Citizens. How an Ideal Trade Agreement Could Look Like”. The project group is supported by an expert team of the YES! 2016.

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The topic “Making trade Agreements Work for Citizens. How an Ideal Trade Agreement Could Look Like?” is presented by researchers of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

Pictures (from top to bottom): (c) Shutterstock / Ahmetov Ruslan, (c) Alexander-von-Humboldt-Schule Neumünster