EU FIRST? Examining the Promotion of Sustainable Development in EU Trade Agreements with Singapore and Vietnam

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Göteborgs universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Sammanfattning: This dissertation aims to determine why the EU is promoting sustainable development as a value in its Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), but also to examine what kind of an actor the EU is in international relations. Since the 2015 Trade for All strategy, the EU has included sustainable development as a key objective in its trade strategy and one way of doing this is by adding a Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapter in its FTAs. This chapter was one of the reasons to why the negotiations between the EU and ASEAN failed. However, the EU was successful in including the TSD chapter in the bilateral negotiations with Singapore and Vietnam, two member countries of ASEAN. The EU is insisting on spreading sustainable development, but it does so on a bilateral level instead of a multilateral. Both sustainable development and multilateralism is part of the EU’s norms, and there seems to be a clash between them. An ideal type analysis is carried out to research what kind of actor the EU is, and the normative power theory and self-interested actor theory is conceptualised in the setting of the EU’s promotion of sustainable development in its FTAs with Singapore and Vietnam. The results show that the EU might have normative interests in spreading sustainable development, but by conducting bilateral agreements, it creates an asymmetric form of a dialogue, which makes it a self-interested actor rather than a normative.

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