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The End of Spheres of Influence by Encroachment of Rivals: The Case of the EU and the US

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with the phenomena taking place mainly in the last decade, whereby both the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) try to make trade deals with countries traditionally belonging to the sphere of influence of the other. It gives provisional answers to the following questions: What drives the EU and the US to dare? Are these deals strategic? Are they economically worth the effort of negotiating them? Is encroachment part of a more general movement to signing deals with any country in the world, neighbour or non neighbour? Are neighbours less important for the EU and the US than before? What are the implications of encroachment or erosion of traditional spheres of influence for the international trade order? Until 1996 at least, many observers in the trade policy sphere were predicting that a world of trading blocs or empires was bound to emerge sooner or later.

Keywords: encroachment of rivals; European Union (EU); international trade order; sphere of influence; trade policy sphere; United States (US)



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