The Political Economy of EU Investment Relations with ASEAN: FDI Liberalization in the EU-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement

  • 閩 納仇

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This dissertation presents a puzzle with respect to the high numbers of bilateral agreements that liberalize foreign direct investment between developed and developing countries This is the reasons why so many agreements are signed when their effects are far from clear As it happens FDI has surged in recent times and keeps rising in the aftermath of the 2007 global financial crisis The huge amounts of capital being invested worldwide have been accompanied by a discourse that considers FDI as a successful recipe for development and that considers liberalization of investment an ideal way to increase the amounts of FDI received and their industrializing capacity A study of academic research on the topic however paints a very different picture Neither is FDI always guaranteed to provide with its desired effects nor is liberalization a strong drive of FDI into an economy Furthermore both can have pernicious effects and signing agreements is certain to reduce the policy space of developing countries Then why do the sign into these agreements with such abandon? To find the answer to this question we take a study case in the ongoing negotiations of a free trade agreement between the European Union and Community of Southeast Asian Nations A look at relations between the two blocks shows how the EU has been very interested to open markets in ASEAN to its multinational enterprises as part of a general trend to liberalize both trade and investment at a global level This policy is in line with the interests of certain corporate groups in the EU as well as ASEAN Opposed to this groups are found other stakeholders grouped under the denomination of civil society that advocate in the opposite direction We find out that decisions of investment liberalization and bilateral agreements are the result of a complex interplay of social interests competing to influence policymakers and the strength of their ideas and allies within official institutions
Date of Award2016 Jun 14
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJenn-Jaw Soong (Supervisor)

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