Sample Dissertation Proposal on Bilateral Trade

Aims of the Dissertation

Bilateral Trade Agreements have the potential of creating various economic and social impacts on the participant countries or regions. Prior to the Transatlantic Trade and Investments Partnership between the United States and the European Union, no bilateral trade agreements existed between these two regions. The common economic analysis of the underlying issues in the European Commission’s Impact Assessment (IA) on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has proved to be a complex task since the agreements made therein are unusual. Other than the huge economic advantage that the partners (US-UE) in this agreement enjoy, as discussed in the works of Lester & InuBarbee [1], the nature of this agreement is much like a wide-ranging traditional regulatory form of agreement. As a result, it becomes very hard for economists to come to terms with the intended outcomes of the negotiations owing to the complexities involved in the regulatory core of the agreement[2]. Besides, the presence of some aspects of classical trade agreement that form part of the agreement have as well enhanced the complexities involved in the process of analyzing and researching on the mode of trade adopted through the agreement[3].

The positive impacts of bilateral trade agreements in various countries have been identified over the years. For example, it has been noted that Bilateral Trade Agreements result in a reduction of export- import tariffs between the countries. Besides this, well organized trade agreements also aid in fostering peace between the participant countries. From this observation, it is clear that the upcoming Bilateral Trade Agreement i.e. the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will potentially result in effective positive relations between these two participants. In addition to improving international relations between these countries, TTIP also has the potential of improving the economic status of both participants as well as resulting in social exchanges between the countries. It is on the basis of these premises that this research seeks to study the Upcoming Bilateral Trade Agreement, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and the EU.

In regard to this topic, the research aims at attaining the following:

  • To study how the investment partnership will impact on the balance of trade between the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (USA) and result in multilateral economic growth;
  • To investigate the legalities and other eventualities involved in the proposed free-trade agreement between the United States and the European Union; find out how the trade agreement is likely to ease the economic barriers that exist between the signatory parties (US-EU).

In order to attain the varied goals described for this research, the study shall adopt a multifaceted approach to its methodology as illustrated in the subsequent sections of this document.

The relationship between countries engaging in preferential trade agreements and the benefits associated with engaging in bilateral trade is well described by the theory of economic integration. This is the theory upon which this study is based. According to Sooegard[4], the economic integration theory relates to the removal of Trade barriers between countries engaged in a bilateral trade agreement. This theory is relevant to this study as it focuses on the objectives of the study. The objectives of the study include a look into the impact of the trade agreement on the balance of trade between the engaged countries and the legalities of the trade relations. These objectives address the combination of business law with the international relations between countries. The theory of Economic Integration is therefore relevant to both the research subject and the International Business Law Specialty.

Methodology

In carrying out this study, a mixed research method will be adopted. The mixed research method involves a combination of qualitative and quantitative study methods. In qualitative study, the data collected will be empirical, obtained mostly through primary data collection strategies, which include interviews, questionnaires and group discussions. On the other hand, the qualitative data will be obtained from literature reviews. The selected study method is suitable for this study as it incorporates elements of both measurable and immeasurable information given by qualitative and quantitative methods respectively. The major limitation that will be faced in this research strategy is the potential untrustworthiness of qualitative data. To address this issue, the researcher will ensure that the sources of information are credible, the information obtained is transferrable accurately and accurate. These factors are mentioned by Shenton[5] as keys to ensuring validity of research data.

Data collection

Data collection procedures intended for use during the process of conducting this research shall include both primary and secondary approaches. The choice of each methodology as Bryman & Bell,[6] suggests is informed by the nature of data that is to be gathered. Besides, a multidisciplinary research such as the one described here requires a multiple form of methodologies in order to ensure adequate data gathering for better-informed decision-making. In light of these facts, each of the primary and secondary methodologies that shall be used during the study is described as follows[7]. A total of 4 states (4 from the EU and 2 from the US) will be used for the study, selected purposively based on their level of participation in the trade (Gibbbons, Limoges et al, 1994).

            Secondary sources

Various secondary sources will be incorporated during the fact-finding mission for this research. To begin with, the choice of secondary sources is upheld by Scott[8] owing to their ease of use as well as cost effectiveness. In regard to this fact, various related journal articles, newspapers, websites, and books will be used to gather relevant data on the legal footprints that inform the business operations between the two parties. Besides, the documentation of the treaties and trade agreements archived in various stations, institutions, and other publications, centers shall be retrieved for meaningful use during the research. In order to ensure the authenticity of the information sourced from these sources, principles of research used in various sources shall be applied. According to the stipulations described by Thomson, (2004) the authenticity of research information must be fully guaranteed in order to avoid the incorporation of rumored information in an official research publication. Browne & Keeley[9] solve the problem of invalidity of research sources by highlighting the process of authenticating a research source. In their description, Saunders & Lewis et al[10]assert that authentic research sources must meet the following needs: drawn from reputable research institutions; published by reputable research personnel; as well as checking the consistency of the source findings with other related research publications[11]. These criteria shall be taken into close consideration while selecting the secondary sources of information that will be used during this research.

            Participatory methods

Different participatory methods shall be employed in order to fully accomplish the varied array of demands necessary for this research. Some of the participatory methods intended for use in this research will include questionnaires, interviews, and focused groups discussions, (FGDs)[12] and key informants. Participants in the bilateral trade between the two regions shall be identified using the snowball sampling method in both EU and US and issued with structured and semi-structured questionnaires to be collected upon completion. These shall provide information on the benefits of the agreements to the economic breakthrough of the parties concerned. Semi-structured questionnaires shall be used to guide the interviews and focused group discussions with various personnel taking part in the trade[13]. A total of 240 personnel (100 from the EU and 140 from the US) are expected to be interviewed, all selected based on the snowball’s sampling method.

In total, 20 focused group discussions comprising of between 5 and 10 persons shall be held during the research. The membership of the FGDs shall be determined based on the following criteria: trade region; period of participation in the trade; knowledge of trade operations between the two regions as guided by TTIP treaties and trade agreements and the personal interests in the bilateral trade in question (TTIP). The focused group members shall be used to identify the key informants that would be consulted during the study. 25 key informants (11 from the EU and 14 from the US) shall be consulted during the research. The key informants shall provide additional information that is expected to highlight the various situations and contexts garnered through the other methods[14]. Authentic scientific researches need a clear verification to ensure that the findings recorded at one instance arecorrespondent to the real situations on the ground. Reciprocity of this research shall be guaranteed by realigning the findings from one research method to another.

 

            Data Analysis and Interpretation

Data analysis procedures shall be purely based on qualitative approaches since all the collection methods are qualitative in nature. In essence, the Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS) shall be used to analyze the data generated from the questionnaires and interviews. Tables and charts shall be used to display a summary of the information acquired for ease in interpretation and understanding [15].

Feasibility and Scope of Study

In determining the feasibility of the study, several factors were considered. Some of the factors include the availability of sufficient finances for organizing and carrying out primary data collection procedures; sufficient time for carrying out the laid down plans for the study; and the presence of an information gap that can be filled by this research. Having established that all conditions are favorable for successfully carrying out this study, it has been confirmed to be feasible.

The research study is to cover different areas related to bilateral trade agreements, particularly the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. In this regard, the paper will focus on the nature of negotiations between the potential trade partners, including the reduction of trade barriers, the controversial issues surrounding consumer behavior in the partnership, and the uncertainties surrounding the negotiations as depicted by Lester and Inu.[16] The study will also discuss the ability of the agreement to bring about both short term and long term economic and social impacts in the involved countries. A further focus will be on the desired nature of the agreement that can lead to favorable impacts on the countries as well as how this can be achieved by the agreeing parties. This will include a consideration of the policies that can be put in place for success of the agreement. Finally, the project will find out the impacts of international business law and regulations on the bilateral trade agreement, and how the impact can result in economic growth. To cover the proposed areas, the researcher will have to carry out multiple interviews, issue several questionnaires, and hold group discussions to obtain primary information. At the same time, secondary information must be collected from relevant literature on the study topic.

 

Relevance to Existing Literature

According to a study by Kirisci Kemal, the TTIP would go beyond the confines of traditional trade agreements. In addition to the elimination of existent trade duties, the partnership also has the potential of removing trade barriers between member countries. The result of this is predicted to be an improvement in the investment environment in the member countries. Moreover, the author suggests that the partnership will also result in the unveiling of a new set of regulatory standards that will potentially span a range of issues, including protection of foreign investments and intellectual property rights, giving a chance for the public procurement for the sake of international competition[17]. This dissertation will add to the information provided in this study by focusing on the impacts of the partnership on the trade balance between the two regions. In addition to this, the dissertation will also consider the legalities of inclusion of Turkey in the TTIP.

Another report that makes proposals on the negotiations for the TTIP by Semerak discusses the perspectives, implications, and obstacles to the establishment of the TTIP with particular reference to the Czech Republic. According to this policy paper, the success of the Partnership depends on the liberalization of goods and service trade between partners, and investment facilitation.[18]  To effectively implement these proposals, the paper further suggests the negotiation for implementation of non-tariff measures across the countries. Irawan and Welfens also support the position of this policy paper with focus on Germany.[19] This paper will advance the dearth of information by discussing specific impacts of the partnership on the involved countries, and the legalities of the negotiation processes.

The economic impacts of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership on the Eu and the U.S are also discussed by Felbermayr and others, and are predicted to be the tune of 1000 Euros per person. The authors focus on the challenges facing negotiations for TTIP with claims that the negotiations are still held with lots of controversy.[20] This paper is instrumental in this study because it offers insight and information that can be useful to the accomplishment of the study objectives. Another study that also focuses on the economic impacts of the agreement was carried out by Mavus and others. However, this study also focuses on Turkey and the potential impacts of the agreement on the Turkish economy.[21]

The impacts of the proposed TTIP on Low Development Countries and emerging economies are highlighted by Stroiman in his independent study paper. According to Stroiman, the potential for this partnership to improve the economic status of the emerging economies can only be taken advantage of through the consideration of the partnership’s development goals.[22] The impact of this paper on the proposed dissertation is that it will form a basis for obtaining relevant information as regards the impacts of TTIP on the LDCs economies. On the other hand, this study will be able to provide the potential structures and regularities that can ease economic barriers between the parties involved. Apart from the study by Stroiman, a policy brief by Messerlin also discusses the economic impacts of the TTIP on the Developing Countries,[23] while De Ville discusses the role of economic assessments on the impacts of the TTIP.[24]

The role of TTIP in ensuring international financial stability is discussed by Johnson and Schott. The positive impacts of the TTIP on the financial stability of the participant countries are dependent on the regulatory policies in support of the agreement. The alignment of the regulatory policies to the needs of various economies can potentially aid in achieving financial stability among member countries.[25] This paper will be instrumental in this dissertation due to its ability to assess both the economic impacts of the partnership and the potential of the partnership to ease economic barriers to trade and the legalities involved in the free trade proposals. Alemanno suggests the involvement of parliamentarians in ensuring the legalities of the partnership agreement are upheld.[26] The shift in the global trade strategy structures also plays a significant function in the realization of the goals of the partnership through the extension of the Free Trade Area scope.[27]

Most other papers and studies on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Patnership focus on the impacts and challenges associated with the agreement. For instance, Akhtar and Jones provide a brief on some issues surrounding the TTIP with focus on factors of market access, regulatory factors, and trade related issues. In this paper, the authors portray various potential impacts of the TTIP with reference to the outlined factors.[28] Raza and others focus on the benefits associated with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership[29],

On the negotiations aspect of the TTIP, authors have provided essential information regarding TTIP agreements. Other authors who offer essential information include  Articles by Lester, Inu and Yukins that discuss the formations of the TTIP negotiations between the U.S and EU. “The negotiations were crucial in developing relevant guiding principles for international trade between different countries involved”[30]. Their report suggests that TTIP negotiations were critical in dealing with the existing U.S-EU regulatory disputes in order to create new free trade markets. Thus, “they both appreciate the need to develop a common trade and investment partnerships between the countries”[31]. Among the four sources, the article by Jost and Rodrigo is different “as it discusses environmental matters influenced by the formation of the TTIP policies”[32]. It suggests that the agreements and negotiation should not limit the environmental research in the international world. Further, the article does not focus on the nature of the TTIP negotiations, but their effects in policymaking, and formation of relevant regulations”[33].

Project Justification

The scope of the International Business Law program is wide and comprises many concepts that cannot be addressed in a single paper. Consequently, by engaging in the study of international partnership, and in particular the TTIP, it will be possible to address several concepts of International Business Law. The role of international partnership in international Business relations is essential towards the accomplishment of the study objectives. By the end of this study, concepts, such as legal issues surrounding international business agreements, the impacts of international business relations on the economic status of participant countries, and the influence of legal structures on international business agreements will have been addressed. The dissertation gives me an opportunity to obtain first hand information regarding various international business law concepts. In addition to this, by focusing on the area of legalities and the ease of trade barriers between the countries in the TTIP agreement, the dissertation will provide a plethora of information that is currently unavailable. It will be instrumental in making recommendations with regards to the potential benefits of the agreement as well as on the legalities surrounding the agreement and ways of dealing with trade barriers.

 

Project Timeline

In addressing the objectives of this paper, the researcher will spend a total of 7 months on the project to ensure that the work done is of high standards. In the first one month, the researcher plans to obtain relevant literature on the subject matter, and information from the collected literature materials. This will be followed by the collection of primary data using participatory methods for three months. During this phase, the activities that will be carried out include making the data collection plans, preparing and finding participants for each collection method, carrying out the actual data collection measures, and organizing the data for analysis. After this, the researcher will engage in data analysis for two months, with specific activities including abstractive recursion for qualitative data and statistical analysis of quantitative data. The last month will be spent in compilation of the final dissertation rep

 

Bibliography

Akhtar, S., and Jones, V. “Proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP): in Brief”. Congressional Research Service, 2014.

Alemanno, A. “The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Parliamentary Dimension of Regulatory Commission”, European Parliament, 2014.

Bryman, A., & Bell, E. Business Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2003.

DeVille, F., “The EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Role of Trade Impact Assessments: Managing Fictional Expectations”. 55th International Studies Association Annual Convention 26-29 March, 2014.

Erixon, F. “The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the shifting structure of global trade policy.” In CESifo Forum, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 18-22. Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, 2014.

Feenstra,  R., Advanced International Trade: Theory and Evidence (Princeton university Press, 2003), 300-337.

Felbermayr, G., Heid, B., Larch, M., and Yalcin, E., “Macroeconomic Potential of Transatlantic Free Trade: A high Resolution Perspective for Europe and the World”. CESIfo Working Paper No. 5019, 2014.

Fung, S. “Negotiating regulatory coherence: The costs and consequences of disparate regulatory principles in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement between the United States and the European Union.” Cornell Int’l LJ 47 (2014): 445-473.

Irawan, T. and Welfens, P. “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Sectoral and Macroeconomic Perspectives for Germany, the EU and the U.S”. Policy Paper No. 78, 2014.

Johnson, S., and Schott, J., “Financial Services in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Peterson”. Institute of International Economics No. 26, 2013.

Jost, D.  & Rodrigo, P., Policy Implications of Environmental Research Remain untouched by Proposed Trade Agreement, Environ. Sci. Technol., Vol. 48 no. 6, 3096-3097, 2014.

Kirisci, K., “Turkey and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Boosting the Model Partnership with the U.S”. Turkey Project Policy Paper, No. 2, 2013.

Lester, S., & InuBarbee. The Challenge of Cooperation: Regulatory Trade Barriers in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Journal of International Economic Law, Vol.16 no.4, 847-867, 2013.

Mavus, M., Oduncu, A., and Gunes, D., “The Possible Effects of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on Turkish Economy”, MPRA Paper No. 51900, 2013

Messerlin, P., “The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Developing Countries”, Groupe d’Economic Mondiale, Policy Brief, May 22 2014.

Neil Browne & Stuart Keeley, Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking 5th Ed., 2003.

Raza, W.,  Grumilla, J., Taylor, L., Troster, B. and Amim, R., “Assess- TTIP: Assessing the Claimed Benefits of the Transatlantic Trade and Investments Partnership, Final Report”, Austria Foundation for Development Research, 2014.

Schott, J. and Cathleen, C.. “Keys to negotiating the transatlantic trade and investment partnership.” Intereconomics 4 (2013): 264.

Scott, C. Producing an Insightful Research Paper: Some Elements to Consider. (February 2, 2011),

Scott. C. “‘What’s There to Lose?’Procurement policies and investment restrictions under a Proposed Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.” Mapping Politics 5 (2013).

Semerak, V., “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Perspectives, Obstacles and Implications for the CZech Republic”. Paper for the International Conference ”Renewing Euro-Atlantic Economic Ties: Towards the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, No 4, 2013

Shenton, A. Strategies for Ensuring Trustworthiness in Qualitative Research Projects. Education for Information. Vol 22, 63-75, 2004

Soegard, C. An Oligopolistic Theory of Regional Trade Agreements. University of Warwick. Working Paper 1007. p. 3, 2013.

Stroiman, E. “Externalities of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Effects on Emerging Economies and the Developing World”. Independent Study Project (ISP) Collection Paper 1836, 2014.

Wallace, M., & Wray, A. Critical Reading and Writing for Postgraduates. London: Sage Publications, 2006.

 

[1] Lester, S., & InuBarbee. The Challenge of Cooperation: Regulatory Trade Barriers in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Journal of International Economic Law, Vol.16 no.4, 847-867, 2013.

[2]Robert, Feenstra, Advanced International Trade: Theory and Evidence (Princeton university Press, 2003), 300-337.

[3]Dannie, Jost & Rodrigo Polanco, Policy Implications of Environmental Research Remain untouched by Proposed Trade Agreement, Environ. Sci. Technol., Vol. 48 no. 6, 3096-3097, 2014.

[4] Soegard, C. An Oligopolistic Theory of Regional Trade Agreements. University of Warwick. Working Paper 1007. p. 3, 2013.

[5] Shenton, A. Strategies for Ensuring Trustworthiness in Qualitative Research Projects. Education for Information. Vol 22, 63-75, 2004.

[6]Bryman, A., & Bell, E. Business Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

[7] Primary and secondary data sources complement each other in research by bridging the gaps left by the two.

[8]The secondary sources used for generating research information must be authentic. For more information, see Scott, C. Producing an Insightful Research Paper: Some Elements to Consider. (February 2, 2011), http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1685422, 2009.

[9]Neil Browne & Stuart Keeley, Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking 5th Ed., () 2003

[10]Saunders & Lewis et al.., 2007

[11]Sutton, 2004

[12]Focused Group Discussions and key informants help to harmonize the data and information gathered from other data sources. The two are of key importance in social researches. See also Wallace, M., & Wray, A. Critical Reading and Writing for Postgraduates. London: Sage Publications, 2006.

[13]Wallace, M., & Wray, A. Critical Reading and Writing for Postgraduates. London: Sage Publications, 2006.

[14]Thomson, 2004

[15]Bryman, A., & Bell, E. Business Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2003.

[16] Lester, S. and Inu. B.2013.

[17] Kirisci, K., “Turkey and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Boosting the Model Partnership with the U.S”. Turkey Project Policy Paper, No. 2, 2013.

[18] Semerak, V., “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Perspectives, Obstacles and Implications for the CZech Republic”. Paper for the International Conference ”Renewing Euro-Atlantic Economic Ties: Towards the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, No 4, 2013

[19] Irawan, T. and Welfens, P. “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Sectoral and Macroeconomic Perspectives for Germany, the EU and the U.S”. Policy Paper No. 78, 2014.

[20] Felbermayr, G., Heid, B., Larch, M., and Yalcin, E., “Macroeconomic Potential of Transatlantic Free Trade: A high Resolution Perspective for Europe and the World”. CESIfo Working Paper No. 5019, 2014.

[21] Mavus, M., Oduncu, A., and Gunes, D., “The Possible Effects of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) on Turkish Economy”, MPRA Paper No. 51900, 2013

[22] Stroiman, E. “Externalities of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Effects on Emerging Economies and the Developing World”. Independent Study Project (ISP) Collection Paper 1836, 2014.

[23] Messerlin, P., “The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Developing Countries”, Groupe d’Economic Mondiale, Policy Brief, May 22 2014.

[24] DeVille, F., “The EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Role of Trade Impact Assessments: Managing Fictional Expectations”. 55th International Studies Association Annual Convention 26-29 March, 2014.

[25] Johnson, S., and Schott, J., “Financial Services in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Peterson”. Institute of International Economics No. 26, 2013.

[26] Alemanno, A. “The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Parliamentary Dimension of Regulatory Commission”, European Parliament, 2014.

[27]  Erixon, F. “The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the shifting structure of global trade policy.” In CESifo Forum, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 18-22. Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, 2014.

 

[28] Akhtar, S., and Jones, V. “Proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP): in Brief”. Congressional Research Service, 2014.

[29] Raza et al., “Assess- TTIP: Assessing the Claimed Benefits of the Transatlantic Trade and Investments Partnership, Final Report”, Austria Foundation for Development Research, 2014.

[30] Sandra T. Fung. “Negotiating regulatory coherence: The costs and consequences of disparate regulatory principles in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement between the United States and the European Union.” Cornell Int’l LJ 47 (2014): 445-473.

[31]Colin Scott. “‘What’s There to Lose?’Procurement policies and investment restrictions under a Proposed Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.” Mapping Politics 5 (2013).

[32]Fredrik  Erixon. 2014.

[33]Jeffrey J. Schott and Cimino Cathleen. “Keys to negotiating the transatlantic trade and investment partnership.” Intereconomics 4 (2013): 264.

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