Trade and sustainable development mechanisms - beyond window-dressing and talking shops? The effectiveness of the institutional mechanisms in EU trade and sustainable development chapters
Sammanfattning: Labour and environmental provisions became a prominent feature in trade agreements nowadays. Since 2011, the European Union devotes a whole chapter in its trade agreements to these issues - the trade and sustainable development (TSD) chapter. This paper argues that an important aspect of the EU’s approach are the institutional mechanisms which monitor the implementation of the TSD chapter. Applying the external governance approach to the mechanisms helps understanding how effective the EU’s approach is in ensuring the export of rules. The effectiveness of the institutional mechanisms, consisting of intergovernmental and civil society bodies and their interactions, is the core of this research. By process tracing the effectiveness of the institutional mechanisms for the case of the EU-Korea free trade agreement, this paper shows that the mechanisms’ contribution varied across labour, environmental and cross-cutting issues. Comparability across issues is restricted. However, it can be stated that for most issues the effectiveness was limited and the mechanisms led to dialogue and limited cooperation. The data was based on official meeting documents, interviews and reports. Possible factors for the variation are identified, among them political willingness, civil society engagement and the involvement of international organizations.
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