12054 - Migration policy in free trade agreements? The illusory separation of ¿the economic¿ and ¿the political¿ in international trade policy.

One of the great contradictions of “free trade” ideology is that it endorses the liberty of mobility of goods while denying liberty of mobility to people. This contradiction is implicitly justified in the political realm by an underlying hegemonic assumption: trade policy is economic in nature while migration policy is inherently political and, therefore, human mobility cannot be a subject of economic policy instruments, such as free trade agreements.

This investigation empirically dispels this myth about the nature of trade policy by showing that trade agreements do, indeed, include regulations pertaining to the mobility of human beings, albeit using economic terminology that discursively constructs mobility as “cross-border flow of services” rather than “migration”.

In light of this discovery, we seek to elucidate the nature of these regulations and, though this discussion, we call into question the legitimacy of the division of “the political” and “the economic” in international trade policy. I argue that political subjects such as migration, workers rights, national sovereignty, and, in general, the social impacts of trade cannot be excluded from the debate about trade policy because they are already present, albeit under economic terminology, which obfuscates the political nature of its content. In this context, the discursive exclusion of migration as a concept from trade policy discussions constitutes a little-studied mechanism for the social construction of exclusion of “migrants” (humans in mobility) as a social group.

Author: Estévez, Isabel ( , Other / Andere)


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