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Transformations in Trade Politics

Participatory Trade Politics in West Africa

By Silke Trommer

Routledge – 2014 – 248 pages

Series: Global Institutions

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    August 20th 2013


This book examines the evolution and application of participatory trade politics in West Africa and discusses the theoretical implications for political economy and global governance approaches to trade policy-making.

The author traces the involvement of a network of West African global justice Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), local NGO and movement platforms, and trade unions in the negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union. Building on this empirical analysis, she develops a theoretical framework of trade policy formation that is not limited to conceptualizing trade as a policy field aimed exclusively at regulating exporting and importing activities in the global economy. Instead, she analyzes how material and ideational spheres interact in the way in which communities set the rules that enable them to trade across long distances. Attempting to reconcile demands for inclusivity with current economic policy-making, the author reframes the way in which we theoretically pose questions of who makes trade policy decisions, through which mechanisms and why trade policy-making practices change, or resist change.

Transformations in Trade Politics will be of interest to students and scholars of International Political Economy, Global Governance, Social Movement Studies, International Economic Relations, International Trade Relations, African Politics, The Politics of African/International Development, EU politics and EU-African Relations.


'Trommer’s analysis imparts theoretical and empirical insight into free trade policies and the limits to social justice in African countries in a thoughtful, rigorous and measured manner. This study should be read by anyone interested in learning more about the relationship between trade and citizen participation in the global South.' - Susanne Soederberg, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Political Economy, Queen’s University, Canada.

'Silke Trommer’s meticulous analysis shows how and why civil society actors are able to influence trade policymaking. In so doing, Transformations in Trade Politics provides an important corrective to an existing body of work that tends to cast civil society influence in the field of trade as weak. This prize winning work—which draws insights from extensive fieldwork in West Africa together with theoretical innovation—is compelling and incisive throughout. A must read work for all interested in civil society engagement in processes of global policymaking, this book makes a genuinely new contribution to scholarship in the field.' - Rorden Wilkinson, Professor of International Political Economy, University of Manchester, UK, and Research Director, Brooks World Poverty Institute.

'Trommer’s theoretically sophisticated book is written with exceptional clarity. Based on solid fieldwork, she not only tells a fascinating story about the West African trade model. She also provides a persuasive analysis of the increasingly political nature of transnational trade. Most importantly, she helps open the field of global political economy to concerns of democratic participation. Now is a good time to learn from this insightful book.' - Teivo Teivainen, Professor of World Politics, University of Helsinki, Finland.

'Conventional wisdom on trade and grassroots civil society movements is either that the latter are an irrelevant nuisance or locally segmented and unable to influence the agenda of transnationally mobile elites. Trommer finds surprising results in ECOWAS and West Africa that challenge these assumptions and affirm that transformations to a more democratic world order might be possible. Drawing on impressive fieldwork and knowledge of international trade law as well as international political economy, this book delivers as a piece of critical scholarship that is very much worth reading.' - Magnus Ryner, Reader in International Political Economy, King’s College London, UK.


PART I: West African Participatory Trade Politics Introduction 1. Transformative agency in EPA negotiations 2. Beyond trade economism PART II: Transformations in Trade Politics 3. The historical evolution of West African participatory trade politics 4. Actors’ assessments of West African participatory trade politics 5. The social dimensions of trade policy formation 6. Conclusion

Author Bio

Silke Trommer is a post-doctoral researcher at the Asia Research Centre at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia, and an affiliated researcher with the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights in Helsinki, Finland, and the African Centre for Trade, Integration and Development in Dakar, Senegal.

Name: Transformations in Trade Politics: Participatory Trade Politics in West Africa (Hardback)Routledge 
Description: By Silke Trommer. This book examines the evolution and application of participatory trade politics in West Africa and discusses the theoretical implications for political economy and global governance approaches to trade policy-making. The author traces the involvement...
Categories: International Political Economy, African & Third World Politics, Political Economy, International Trade (incl. trade agreements & tariffs), Politics & International Relations, Development Studies, Economics and Development, Politics & Development, European Union Politics, International Politics, International Relations, Politics of International Trade