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Small firms as the main beneficiaries of trade agreements? A framing analysis of European Commission discourse

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Abstract
In recent years, debate about the distributive consequences of trade liberalisation has intensified on both sides of the Atlantic. Within the European Union (EU), a strong politicisation of trade policy occurred in the wake of the launch of negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the United States (US). These talks were effectively portrayed by critics of the agreements as 'made for and by big business', a master frame that succeeded in bringing together a broad coalition of civil society organisations. In this article, we show how the European Commission developed and communicated a counter-frame stipulating that TTIP and similar trade agreements are inclusive of and especially valuable to small firms. Based on a framing analysis of official documents and speeches, we analyse the rationale of this frame and how it has been communicated through story-telling. We show that this positive frame has only partially been mirrored in the positions of associations representing small firms themselves. The debate on the inclusive benefits and redistributive effects of trade agreements, including between enterprises of different sizes, continues within academia, politics, and society.
Keywords
Political Science and International Relations, Geography, Planning and Development, Development, Trade, TTIP, European Commission, framing, small firms

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MLA
De Ville, Ferdi, and Niels Gheyle. “Small Firms as the Main Beneficiaries of Trade Agreements? A Framing Analysis of European Commission Discourse.” NEW POLITICAL ECONOMY, 2021, pp. 1–14, doi:10.1080/13563467.2021.1879760.
APA
De Ville, F., & Gheyle, N. (2021). Small firms as the main beneficiaries of trade agreements? A framing analysis of European Commission discourse. NEW POLITICAL ECONOMY, 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1080/13563467.2021.1879760
Chicago author-date
De Ville, Ferdi, and Niels Gheyle. 2021. “Small Firms as the Main Beneficiaries of Trade Agreements? A Framing Analysis of European Commission Discourse.” NEW POLITICAL ECONOMY, 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1080/13563467.2021.1879760.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
De Ville, Ferdi, and Niels Gheyle. 2021. “Small Firms as the Main Beneficiaries of Trade Agreements? A Framing Analysis of European Commission Discourse.” NEW POLITICAL ECONOMY: 1–14. doi:10.1080/13563467.2021.1879760.
Vancouver
1.
De Ville F, Gheyle N. Small firms as the main beneficiaries of trade agreements? A framing analysis of European Commission discourse. NEW POLITICAL ECONOMY. 2021;1–14.
IEEE
[1]
F. De Ville and N. Gheyle, “Small firms as the main beneficiaries of trade agreements? A framing analysis of European Commission discourse,” NEW POLITICAL ECONOMY, pp. 1–14, 2021.
@article{8694182,
  abstract     = {In recent years, debate about the distributive consequences of trade liberalisation has intensified on both sides of the Atlantic. Within the European Union (EU), a strong politicisation of trade policy occurred in the wake of the launch of negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the United States (US). These talks were effectively portrayed by critics of the agreements as 'made for and by big business', a master frame that succeeded in bringing together a broad coalition of civil society organisations. In this article, we show how the European Commission developed and communicated a counter-frame stipulating that TTIP and similar trade agreements are inclusive of and especially valuable to small firms. Based on a framing analysis of official documents and speeches, we analyse the rationale of this frame and how it has been communicated through story-telling. We show that this positive frame has only partially been mirrored in the positions of associations representing small firms themselves. The debate on the inclusive benefits and redistributive effects of trade agreements, including between enterprises of different sizes, continues within academia, politics, and society.},
  author       = {De Ville, Ferdi and Gheyle, Niels},
  issn         = {1356-3467},
  journal      = {NEW POLITICAL ECONOMY},
  keywords     = {Political Science and International Relations,Geography,Planning and Development,Development,Trade,TTIP,European Commission,framing,small firms},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {1--14},
  title        = {Small firms as the main beneficiaries of trade agreements? A framing analysis of European Commission discourse},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13563467.2021.1879760},
  year         = {2021},
}

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