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New trade linkages, old trade disconnects: Drivers, governance and effects of integrated trade policies

du 5 juin 2024 au 7 juin 2024


Drivers, governance and effects of integrated trade policies

June 6-7, 2024, Paris.

Co-hosted by Sorbonne University and Sorbonne Nouvelle University in collaboration with University of Lorraine, this international conference will gather academic, policy and business experts in Paris to decipher new trends in trade policy linkages, i.e. interconnections, tensions and conflicts between trade policies and other policy spheres.  It is co-sponsored by the Research Chair on New Issues in Economic Globalization at Laval University and the Trade Implementation and Enforcement UACES Research Network.

The rise of populism, Brexit, the climate crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine all have common implications for the international trading system: they have all led to a major rethinking of trade policies. While the social and environmental linkages of trade were a hallmark of globalization debates in the 1990s (Destler & Balint 1999), today, few if any facet of trade policies can be insulated from their societal effects. First, century-old debates on trade and labor have resurfaced, while new concerns over the resilience of global value chains have arisen, prompting calls for reshoring, nearshoring or friendshoring. The remapping of global trade is not just tantamount to regionalization but has also created new cross-regional trade strategies and imaginaries (Siles-Brügge 2019). The resurgence of economic nationalism has also renewed ties between industrial or competitiveness policies and protective measures of all sorts. Second, the pandemic has compelled decisionmakers to reconsider the tensions and conflicts between trade and health policy objectives in the face of public health emergencies, supply chain bottlenecks, “health populism” or “vaccine nationalism”, leading to unprecedented government intervention in vaccine development and managed trade (Baldwin & Evenett 2020; Bollyky & Bown 2020; Bown 2022; Dalingwater 2023). Third, environmental issues are gradually shifting from afterthoughts in trade policy (e.g. the North American Free Trade Agreeement’s side agreement) to a more robust trade-environment nexus seeking to balance out economic and environmental objectives (Morin & Jinnah 2020; Laurens, Brand & Morin 2022), or even a climate policy matrix potentially constraining commercial interests (Velut 2022). Fourth, the US-China trade and technology wars and the unprecedented scale of economic sanctions imposed on Russia have once again raised the prominence of the trade-security nexus and questioned whether state power can be constrained by international trade law (Lester & Zhu 2019; Pinchis-Paulsen 2022.).

If many of these policy nexuses have a long history, the digitalization of trade in goods and services and the increasing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) have opened a Pandora’s box of new issue linkages, including data privacy, cybersecurity, and democratic accountability (see e.g. Aaronson 2018; Fahey 2022). Meanwhile, some issues, like labor rights, antitrust, digital taxes, and the discoverability of cultural goods and services have yet to emerge as legitimate linkages in the digital trade policy sphere (Rioux & Verdugo 2019; Rioux 2022). The persistence of some of these digital “trade disconnects” raises questions on the obstacles preventing this form of agenda-setting (Velut 2023) and conversely, the processes underpinning the formation of durable trade linkages, be they bottom-up or top-down processes (Aggarwal 2013). Thus, there is a need to better understand the channels through which the trade negotiating agenda can expand and the factors inhibiting its development.

These questions are inherently linked to the politics of inclusion and exclusion in trade policymaking, not simply in terms of economic redistribution, but also as a matter of representation and deliberation (Goff 2021a; Velut, Siles-Brügge & Dalingwater 2022). Civil society consultation has been a long feature of social and environmental linkages. Yet, a growing number of countries including Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland and Chile are calling for more inclusive trade policies that broaden the traditional range of usual trade policy stakeholders (industries, unions) and take into consideration the interests of women, indigenous populations, small-and-medium enterprises (SME), subnational governments or cultural actors in policymaking (Broschek & Goff 2020; Goff 2021a & 2021b; Lequesne & Paquin 2017; Schiavon 2019). Whether these stakeholders are better served through institutional mechanisms (co-option), social mobilization (contestation) or a mix of both remains an open question, which, at the theoretical level, has long divided both political scientists and social movement theorists. Thus, understanding the politics and governance of trade linkages is crucial to determine the links between processes and outcomes and explain the synergies, tensions and possible conflicts between what Miller (2010) describes as “procedural” fairness and substantive fairness (see also Stiglitz 2006; Martens & Orbie 2018).

These links between processes and outcomes, causes and effects, have taken center stage amidst lingering trade contestation. Facing political pressure from both leftwing and far-right constituents, decisionmakers have tried – with more or less success – to open up the negotiating process, but also devoted increasing attention to the implementation and enforcement of trade policies. This “enforcement turn” in trade policies is not only clear in the US and EU, but again, among a growing number of trade powers seeking to ensure that social and environmental provisions in trade agreements have concrete effects on the ground (Hoekman & Bondi 2022; Boulanger, Rioux & Zini 2021; LSE Consulting 2022). Thus, there is a need to better understand the consequences of integrated or “re-embedded” trade policies (Kolben & Rioux, 2023) and disentangle the multiple factors that can help trading nations reach so-called “non-trade” policy objectives through trade, be they environmental, social, cultural or geopolitical. It is also of utter importance to explain how these different goals interact or conflict with one another, e.g. whether new security imperatives might hamper trade and sustainable development (Orbie 2021) or the extent to which trade and environmental linkages might conflict with economic development. More broadly, given the resurgence of nationalism, one may wonder whether national or regional approaches to trade linkages can still be multilateralized, and whether trade law will be subject to new conflicting interpretations under a more fragmented international trading system crystallizing deglobalization trends. The legal implications of the new trade linkages are all the more significant given the proliferation of trade policy instruments away from FTA-centered trade policy – a process of “de-FTA-zation” where sectoral agreements, sustainability initiatives, autonomous measures (Velut 2023) and executive-driven “mini-deals” (Claussen 2022) are called to play a greater role. Meanwhile, there have been ubiquitous debates of the need to adapt multilateral trade rules to the “trade links” of the twenty-first century (Bacchus 2022).

Because trade linkages are inherently interdisciplinary, this international conference invites contributions from a wide range of fields (political science, International Relations, law, economics, sociology, area studies etc.) to decipher the drivers, governance and consequences of new and resurgent trade policy linkages. Papers can be country-specific or comparative studies contrasting the ways in which countries or groups of countries govern trade linkages (or perpetuate trade disconnects). The purpose is to share multidisciplinary perspectives on the multiple ramifications of trade policies in some of the following policy spheres and beyond:

  • Health policies

  • Industrial policies and supply chain resilience

  • Innovation and technology policies

  • Cultural policy

  • Security and defense policies

  • Digital trade, AI, and the metaverse

  • Environmental and climate policies

  • Employment and labor 

  • Inclusive trade policies: trade and gender, indigenous rights etc.

This international conference invites researchers working on trade linkages to present working papers in an interactive workshop format (10-minute presentation + 20-minute discussion). The objective is to build a collective approach to understanding trade linkages and disconnects, which will result in a joint publication (details to be confirmed later). Travel funding may be available upon request for doctoral students and/or researchers from the Global South.

Proposals (500 words) should be sent by November 15th, 2023 to Jean-Baptiste Velut and Louise Dalingwater. The authors will be notified of the final decision by late December.

Once a proposal is accepted, the author will be asked to submit a 3000-word working papers by April 30 to be shared with other participants.   

Contact: and

Scientific Committee: Jean-Baptiste Velut (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle), Louise Dalingwater (Sorbonne Université), Anne Groutel (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle), Iside Costantini (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle), Vanessa Boullet (Université de Lorraine), Richard Ouellet (Université Laval), Martine Charbonnier (Sorbonne Université)

This event is co-sponsored by the UACES Trade Implementation and Enforcement Research (TIER) Network.

Type :
Colloque / Journée d'étude
Lieu(x) :
Maison de la Recherche - 4 rue des Irlandais - 75005 PARIS
le fichier [DOCX - 18 Ko]

mise à jour le 20 février 2024