Partnerships for Sustainable Trade? The EU’s Trade and Sustainable Development Chapters in the Context of Global Justice
Sustainable development standards have become an integral feature of all EU external trade agreements. According to all new European external trade agreements, trade in goods and services must conform to international standards on labour rights and environmental protection. This report seeks to identify the institutional structure of the EU’s Trade and Sustainable Development Chapters. The report further asks what principles of global political justice the EU is applying when promoting its trade and sustainable development agenda. These questions are addressed through the analysis of free trade agreements between the EU and Canada, Singapore, Vietnam and South Korea, and the ongoing India-EU trade negotiations.
The report, which is based on Vigrestad's MA thesis as a student on the GLOBUS project, finds that the EU is prioritising cooperation and dialogue on internationally recognised sustainability norms. However, the EU’s emphasis on ‘soft’ dispute settlement mechanisms fails to guarantee a neutral and unbiased enforcement of the sustainable development provisions. The report also finds that by relying on a more or less predefined template, the EU’s Sustainable Development Chapters might seem unsuited for the specific contexts they are applied in.
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