Global Governance through Trade
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Global Governance through Trade

EU Policies and Approaches

Edited by Jan Wouters, Axel Marx, Dylan Geraets and Bregt Natens

The 'new generation' of EU trade policies aims to advance public goods - such as promoting sustainable development, protecting human rights and enhancing governance in third states. These developments raise important questions surrounding extraterritoriality, coherence and legitimacy. In Global Governance through Trade leading scholars provide a cohesive overview of relevant papers and case studies to answer these questions and provide an in-depth assessment of the European Union's new trade policies.
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Chapter 8: The EU GSP: a preference for human rights and good governance? The case of Myanmar

Laura Beke and Nicolas Hachez


The entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty has firmly anchored the principles of democracy, the rule of law and human rights in the European Union (EU)’s external relations (see, for example, Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU)). The EU has therefore set out to use its well-established Common Commercial Policy (CCP) (Article 207 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)) to ‘make trade work in a way that helps human rights’ (Council of the EU, 2012) through a ‘sticks and carrots’ approach (Vandenberghe, 2008), by which commercial incentives are made conditional upon compliance with the EU’s normative agenda. The CCP can in this light be understood as a ‘trump card that the EU uses to reward (or sanction) countries when they pursue (or refuse) structural reforms’ (Keukeleire, Thiers and Justaert, 2009: 156). Throughout its CCP, the EU is thus seeking to advance a ‘deep trade agenda’ (Postnikov and Bastiaens, 2014) and to realize a much discussed ‘trade-development-human rights nexus’. This is done by granting preferential market access to developing countries in exchange for the promotion and enforcement of human rights standards under its unilateral Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), and by including human rights clauses in its bilateral trade agreements (Fierro, 2001).

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