IS THE FUTURE OF EU TRADE GREEN? Trade and Sustainable Development Chapters in the EU’s Free Trade Agreements in Asia

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

Sammanfattning: Since the free trade agreement between the EU and South Korea was signed in 2009, each EU free trade agreement includes a Trade and Sustainable Development chapter. This chapter should improve labour conditions and mitigate environmental risks due to the global trade growth. This study investigates the EU trade agreements with South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan and focuses on the currently negotiated Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with Indonesia. Indonesia is the world’s biggest producer of palm oil and this industry is known for offering poor labour conditions and being extremely hazardous for the environment. To examine if this agreement can fulfil its expectations towards sustainability this thesis investigates to what extent the EU promotes sustainable development in trade agreements with its Asian partners.To answer this research question, a document analysis and content analysis of the trade and sustainable development chapters and expert interviews have been conducted. The analysis shows how sustainable development has evolved and results offer an assumption about how the Indonesian trade agreement will turn out. The expert interviews give further insight into the motivations of the EU to include sustainable development and how the agreements will change in the future.Findings from this study are, that sustainable development has gained relevance in the EU’s free trade agreements over the last ten years. However, the trade and sustainable chapters are still very unspecific and miss enforcement measures. Reasons for that is not just a lack of commitment from the EU’s partners but also that the EU has not yet defined sustainable development as a priority.

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