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Migration policy towards emerging countries: regulatory power reversed?

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Jurje Lavenex and Lavenex Sandra,
Project Understanding Power Transitions in the Global Economy. Regulatory Politics in Flux
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal European Foreign Affairs Review
Title of proceedings European Foreign Affairs Review


As attractive destinations, both the EU and the US have sought the cooperation of countries of origin of migrants in order to regulate the flows. Large emerging economies like China and India are no exception to these endeavours. However, hierarchical attempts at striking readmission agreements with these countries have met with clear resistance early on. Whereas both the EU and US have then devised more horizontal dialogues to engage China and India on migration (control) cooperation, both countries have quickly become the targets of offensive demands themselves with China and India asking for wider openings on economic migration. From the negotiation of service trade liberalization in the framework of the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services onwards, these claims have been linked to bilateral trade negotiations and form a particularly salient and contested chapter of the envisaged EU-India FTA. Based on the analysis of EU and US cooperation with China and India on migration and of FTA provisions on labour mobility, this paper maps the countries' contrasting agendas. Turning the special issue's "supply- and-demand-model" of regulatory power on its head, the paper documents how the EU and US have become themselves addressees of Chinese and Indian regulatory demands on migration. Highlighting the complex interplay between domestic regulatory structures, economic interests and external regulatory influence, the paper thus discusses established powers' limits to external rule projection in conjuncture with their limits to resist demand for facilitated visa and mobility schemes on the part of emerging countries.