Partnerships for Sustainable Trade?
In this report, Joachim Vigrestad identifies the institutional structure of EU's trade and sustainable development chapters and asks what principles of global political justice the EU is applying when promoting its trade and sustainable development agenda.
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 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.
Joachim Vigrestad has a Master of Political Science from the University of Oslo. He was affiliated with ARENA Centre for European Studies and the GLOBUS project trough the student scholarship. The report is based on Vigrestad's MA thesis as a student on the GLOBUS project.
More about the GLOBUS project: Reconsidering European Contributions to Global Justice (GLOBUS)
ARENA Report 2/18 (pdf)
Partnerships for Sustainable Trade? The EU's Trade and Sustainable Development Chapters in the Context of Global Justice