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France, Europe and Development Aid. From the Treaties of Rome to the Present Day

Gérard Bossuat
Gordon D. Cummings

Questioning the European Approach to Development (1995-2010)

Europe, Trade Policy, and Development since the Creation of the WTO

Olivier Cattaneo

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It may seem counter-intuitive to conceive of trade policy as development policy. At least, if you have a commercial view of trade in which the aim is to accumulate wealth by means of trade surpluses. It was this very view which, in 17th century France, at the height of Colbertism, led Richelieu to create the first colonial companies, and it still persists. It is true that trade negotiations always concern access to markets, but trade is not seen as a zero sum game: from the 18th century onwards, with Adam Smith’s theory of absolute advantage,1 then in the early 19th century with David Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage,2 economists have commended specialised economies and international trade for the mutual benefit of the participants. From there it was only a small step to make international trade an engine of economic development, a step which economists and politicians were quick to take.

Trade for peace-making purposes thus succeeded trade for social purposes. I...


Olivier Cattaneo is a New York attorney. He is a lecturer and research associate with the Groupe d’économie mondiale of the Paris Institut d’Études Politiques (IEP). He has worked as an expert in trade and development policy for the OECD, the AFD and the World Bank. He has also worked at the National Assembly and at the Ministries of Labour and Health, and more recently at the Ministry of Agriculture in connection with the French presidency of the G20. With a doctorate in international law from the Geneva Institut Universitaire des Hautes Études Internationales (IUHEI), he has degrees from the Paris IEP and from Georgetown University, and is a World Fellow of Yale University. He is the author of numerous publications on trade and development, including a recent publication with Gary Gereffi and Cornelia Staritz, Global Value Chains in a Postcrisis World, World Bank, 2010.

© Institut de la gestion publique et du développement économique, 2013

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