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European Trade Diplomacy and the Politics of Global Development: Reflections on the EU–China ‘Bra Wars’ Dispute


  • Tony Heron


The article analyses the so-called ‘bra wars’ trade dispute that took place between the EU and China in 2005. This dispute raised a number of important questions linked, not only to the textiles and clothing (T&C) trade regime, but to the broader conduct of the EU in relation to the developing world. Over the years, the EU has attempted to construct a discourse towards developing countries that has sought to articulate a distinctively ‘European’ approach to issues like preferential trade, equitable growth, poverty reduction and so on. This article thus centres on the broader analytical question raised by ‘bra wars’: namely, the mounting incongruity between the theory and practice of the development policies of the EU.