Tilman Krueger is a Research Associate at the University of Bremen’s Collaborative Research Center 597 “Transformations of the State” and an Affiliated Fellow at the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences. He received a M.A. in Political Science at Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich and is about to submit his Ph.D. dissertation on strategic litigation and the judicialization of governance in the WTO. His research focuses on international trade relations, law, and governance, including in the context of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The domestic foundations of states’ trade policy actions and the intersection of political and judicial decision-making at the international level are important topics of his work.
As a DAAD/AICGS Research Fellow, Mr. Krueger worked on U.S. and EU trade relations with China, which are a hot issue on both sides of the Atlantic. In light of the global financial and economic crisis, the opportunities and challenges arising from China for businesses and policy makers in America and Europe are exceptional in many respects. Policy responses take place in a highly complex environment, touching upon important concerns in various policy areas. In this situation, the U.S. and the EU are partners and competitors at the same time: on the one hand, closer transatlantic cooperation is widely expected to offset what are viewed by many as unfair Chinese trade practices; on the other hand, as economic operators in America and Europe try to gain further access to the Chinese market or seek domestic protection, transatlantic relations are only one out of several considerations.
In the past, U.S. and EU trade actions towards China have occasionally been strikingly analogous and coordinated, e.g. regarding WTO dispute settlement proceedings on Chinese export restrictions of raw materials. The recent stepping-up of efforts to conclude a transatlantic free trade area can also be interpreted as a coordinated effort to alleviate Chinese economic predominance. At the same time, the U.S. and the EU also try to find solutions individually: both are negotiating free trade agreements that have at least potentially important consequences for their trade relationships with China – U.S. efforts to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership are the most important example here. The U.S. has initiated more than twice as many disputes against China in the WTO; it has also had to defend itself against Chinese claims more often. Finally, whereas the EU appears more preoccupied with its internal crisis, U.S. economic relations with China feature prominently in recent U.S. public and electoral debates.
Mr. Krueger’s work at the AICGS set out to learn more about these (and other) converging and diverging trends in U.S./EU economic relations with China. From the perspective of domestic trade policy making, much is at stake for American and European economic operators and their competitiveness in the global marketplace. The stakes are also high from a broader international perspective, as the successes and failures of individual and concerted U.S.-EU actions towards China have transatlantic repercussions as well. A better understanding of the dynamics underlying trade policy choices on both sides of the Atlantic is needed to evaluate the consequences resulting from them and, in turn, to find more appropriate responses for the future.
Made possible by the support of German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) with funds from the German Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt - AA)