EU Policies and Approaches
Edited by Jan Wouters, Axel Marx, Dylan Geraets and Bregt Natens
Chapter 6: The climate change norms under the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement: between soft and hard law
The European Union (EU or Union), 27 of its Member States and the Republic of Korea (the Contracting Parties) signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on 6 October 2010 (the EU-Korea FTA or the Agreement), which was intended to have unlimited duration. This regional trade agreement (RTA) provisionally entered into force on 1 July 2011 pending the Member States’ ratification thereof. The signing of the EU-Korea FTA was preceded by the adoption of the Framework Agreement for Trade and Cooperation between the EU, its Member States and South Korea of 10 May 2010 (the 2010 Cooperation Agreement). Despite the EU-Korea FTA being presented as embodying a novel type of RTA because of its comprehensive nature, its direct climate change provisions (in Chapter 13) still enjoy a low degree of hard law normativity as a result of their generality, looseness, and policy-oriented and conditional language. This low degree of hard law normativity is confirmed by the provision of a non-adjudicatory dispute settlement mechanism limited to consultations and an institutionalized form of mediation.
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