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Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EUTIP (EU TRADE AND INVESTMENT POLICY)

Reporting period: 2019-04-01 to 2021-03-31

International trade and investment are of considerable economic and political importance for Europe. The EU is negotiating trade agreements globally, involving the abolition of tariffs, the reduction of non-tariff barriers to trade, and the introduction of dispute settlement mechanisms. However, the example of the controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the USA has shown the challenges of EU trade policy. The objective of the EU Trade and Investment Policy ITN (EUTIP) is to foster interdisciplinary research into the evolving international trade policy of the EU with a view to create a significantly increased European knowledge base and research capacity on EU law and policy of the regulation of international trade through free trade agreements (FTAs) with third countries, thus helping Europe to safeguard the benefits of international trade (wealth, jobs, etc.) while addressing the challenges of its regulation (competence, democracy, accountability, environmental- and labour, standards, etc.). It is argued that the EU trade and investment policy pursued through FTAs is evolving into an entirely new legal, economic, and political sub-discipline closely related to and originating in EU and international trade law, economics, and politics. This new field of law, economics, and politics is wide-ranging, including aspects already addressed in existing FTAs and fields of trade and competition law currently regulated in the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU), the relevant decision-making mechanisms, the relationship between the relevant legal systems, and dispute settlement. Moreover, the ITN investigated Transatlantic agreements as precedents and possible templates for third generation trade agreements of the EU with other parts of the world. The network is an interdisciplinary, intersectoral collaboration pooling world-leading researchers and practitioners from all relevant disciplines of law - EU constitutional, internal market, and external relations law, international trade law, and international law, as well as political science, international relations, business studies, and economics. EUTIP fully integrates academic and non-academic Beneficiaries and Partner Organisations, including think tanks, lobbyists, regulatory bodies, law firms, third country academic institutions, and an international organisation. Furthermore, the network supports and enhances the process of converting research results into policy papers through partnership with high-impact policy research units at the forefront of European policy research and policy making. The work consisted of 3 substantive work packages on (1) governance, (2) regulation, and (3) multilateralism and regionalism. 12 PhD research projects are supervised by academics of the 11 Beneficiaries with an interdisciplinary training programme covering the legal, political, and economic foundations of EU trade and investment policy and an interdisciplinary and intersectoral programme of secondments involving 18 Partner Organisations. 2 PhD research projects are already completed, most projects will be completed before the end of 2021.
EUTIP has evolved into a vibrant interdisciplinary research community of ESRs and PIs, comprising various nationalities and a strong involvement of sectors outside academia, reaching out to the public, and increasingly contributing to the relevant agendas of EU trade and investment policy.

The successful (ESR) recruitment phase was initiated during a meeting of all PIs in Brussels in early May 2017, swiftly leading to advertising of the positions, shortlisting and interviews mostly in July 2017, and 14 ESRs in post by October 2017 (one by April 2018). The kick-off meeting in Birmingham in October 2017 with all recruited ESRs and PIs then started an intense training phase with ATC1 on trade law in Passau in December 2017, ATC2 on law and economics in Rotterdam in January 2018, ATC3 on the US perspective in Speyer in April 2018, ATC4 on the politics of EU external trade policy in Brussels in May 2018, the Birmingham conference on ‘Transatlantic perspectives’ in June 2018, and ATC5 on EU external relations law in Turin in September 2018. Moreover, project meetings were held in Passau (2017), Speyer, Birmingham (2018), Nottingham, Zurich (2019), and Paris (2020). This was complemented by the internal training activities of the beneficiaries. An additional ATC6 on outreach and dissemination in September 2019 in Brussels, a conference on Asian perspectives in November 2019 in Singapore, and the Network Conference in January 2021 (online) completed the training programme. ESRs started their secondment programmes and have completed over 40 secondments. After the recalibration of the project from TTIP-ITN to EUTIP, the ITN website evolved to a lively and interesting portal disseminating ideas. The EUTIP-ESR community actively participated in numerous academic conferences and seminars and published notes and academic papers on their areas of research. EUTIP developed a clear profile, for the ITN as a whole and for the substantive WPs 1-3. The network website includes tweets, blogs, the EUTIP Working Papers series, the EUTIP Policy Briefs series, and thematic films and evolved into a forum for the dissemination of ideas and discussion of issues related to EU trade and investment policy.
The direct impact of EUTIP is the creation of a significantly increased European knowledge base and research capacity on EU trade and investment policy, thus helping Europe to reap the benefits of free trade agreements (wealth and jobs) while addressing its challenges (democracy, accountability, environmental, and labour standards, etc.). EU trade and investment policy, especially through the third-generation free trade agreements and in its economic and political contexts, has now been established as a distinct discipline of research and set the research and policy agenda on this topic in Europe and beyond. It achieved this aim and led and shaped the emerging field of law and policy by training a cohort of 15 ESRs with the specialised skills required to work and communicate across disciplinary and sectoral boundaries, and by pursuing a rigorous and multi-layered public engagement strategy. In this way, beyond 15 substantial new PhD theses or equivalent as such, EUTIP has four key areas of impact: 1) on the ESRs, their skills, and future career prospects; 2) by participation in the ITN, the further development of a European and third country legal community with specialised knowledge of EU trade and investment policy; 3) on the European research and policy agendas on EU trade and investment policy; and 4) on public awareness and understanding of EU trade and investment policy more broadly. EUTIP led and will continue to lead to collaborations beyond the network’s lifetime that will facilitate further development and will feed back into the debates about the development and reform of EU trade and investment policy thus leading to further sector-specific and intersectoral training of future cohorts capable of impactful interdisciplinary work.