Building on open economy politics to understand the stalled EU-India trade negotiations

Louise Curran, Khalid Nadvi, Sangeeta Khorana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Global trade governance is increasingly characterized by a growing fragility in multilateral institutions and a preference for bilateral negotiations. The literature on such negotiations focuses primarily on successful agreements. Academic research on unsuccessful or stalled bilateral talks is limited, although better understanding of such outcomes may provide lessons for future negotiations. This article contributes to such understanding by proposing a revised open economy politics (OEP) framework, adapted to 'second generation' OEP analysis. Our framework highlights the multidirectional linkages between the trinity of interests, institutions and international interactions within trade negotiations, while adding the role of power and ideas to the analysis. We leverage our revised framework to explore why the European Union-India Free Trade Agreement (EUIFTA) negotiations stalled, thus providing insights as negotiators seek to revive them. Drawing on 45 semi-structured interviews conducted over a seven-year period in the EU and India, we examine what impact these different factors had on the progress of talks. Our results suggest that our revised OEP approach provides a multi-layered and integrated framework which enables us to better understand negotiating outcomes. Furthermore, our findings suggest that the shifting balance between emerging economies and developed economies as a result of the geopolitical (power) shifts and ideational change will affect future trade negotiations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1883-1903
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Affairs
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • European Union
  • global trade regulations
  • India
  • Open Economy Politics
  • trade policy


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