Title: The response of EU trade dependent firms to the globalisation backlash

Authors: Louise Curran; Jappe Eckhardt

Addresses: Department of Strategy, TBS Business School, Toulouse, Paris, France ' Department of Politics, University of York, York, England, UK

Abstract: This paper seeks to expand our understanding of Corporate Political Activity (CPA) in trade policy by exploring the strategic responses of EU trade dependent firms (TDFs) to the recent backlash against globalisation. We develop propositions on likely corporate strategies in this context and explore them in the EU. Our empirical focus is on four cases of trade policy changes over the period 2016-2019 which reduced, or threatened to reduce, openness in different ways and with varying sectoral impacts. Propositions were explored through the analysis of public actions by TDFs and their associations, as well as 26 interviews. We find that few EU TDFs mobilised independently against protectionism. Rather, they overwhelmingly worked through their trade associations. Furthermore, the extent to which sectoral associations mobilised together or alone varied depending on the issue area and nature of the threats. We find limited evidence of trans-national lobbying or mobilisation with civil society groups, beyond the specific issue of Brexit.

Keywords: trade; corporate political activity; lobbying; globalisation; trade dependent firms.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2021.10037410

European Journal of International Management, 2022 Vol.18 No.2/3, pp.283 - 328

Received: 01 Oct 2020
Accepted: 06 Mar 2021

Published online: 15 Aug 2022 *

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