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Concluding inter-regional agreements: looking at EU’s trade partners single voice

Jordi Mas Elias

The EU has pursued several interregional trade negotiations in recent years. Despite undertaking very complex trade negotiations with very heterogeneous regions, some agreements have been concluded and are already in force. It is the case of the EU-CARIFORUM or the EU-Central America agreements. Why were those inter-regional agreements concluded? So far, EU literature has shown that while the EU is more effective to concluding international agreements when speaking with one voice, internal coherence is not sufficient as external factors are also necessary to explain variation in EU agreements. On the grounds of these analytical insights as well as the literature on trade negotiations and on inter-regionalism, this paper proposes to look at whether the capacity to speak with a ‘single voice’ of the EU’s regional partner has an impact on the probability to conclude region-to-region trade agreements. It also presents a way to operationalize the analysis by looking at the regional partner’s institutional and political capacity for internal coherence.

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