Interest Groups and EU Anti-dumping Policy

29/11/2012 12:00 - 1100 total view

Dirk De Bièvre (Universiteit Antwerpen) and Jappe Eckhardt (World Trade Institute,

University of Bern)
Why did the European Union (EU) attempt yet fail to reform its anti-dumping legislation between 2006 and 2008? We analyse this attempt to reform a legislative act regulating interest groups' access to public decision-makers by relying on collective action and principal – agent theory. Contrary to approaches assuming that the European Commission enjoys a large degree of agent autonomy to implement a more liberal EU trade policy than most member state principals would want, we conceive of principals and their agents as actors responding to the relative balance between interest groups mobilizing for and against reform. Tracing interest group collective action advantages back to industry consolidation and the certainty of future losses, we argue that concentrated producer groups mobilize most intensively and persistently and successfully influence policy outcomes. On the losing side, importers and retailers, joined by producers having outsourced parts of their production, let alone consumers, fail to counter this mobilization effort.