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 11: Governing through trade in compliance with WTO law: a case study of the European Union Timber Regulation

Dylan Geraets and Bregt Natens


As explained by Chad Damro in this volume, the European Union (EU) is a market power. A new generation of EU policies aiming at the provision of global public goods (and which are the subject of this edited volume), have a strong impact on trade. These measures often include conditions for access to the European markets, which is linked to adherence to certain criteria or obligations. Considering the economic importance of the EU marketplace for foreign producers, and as demonstrated by this book, measures that restrict market access are increasingly being used as governance tools. Although these policies may, at first sight, have laudable goals, they are not necessarily perceived in that way by other states. Argentina, for one, questioned the motives behind an American example of one of these policies, stating that the measure ‘was not necessarily intended to protect endangered species but rather to protect domestic markets from imports’. Nonetheless, even if the intentions of the legislators are benevolent, these policies also need to comply with the obligations under international (trade) law of the enacting Member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). One of the functions of the WTO is the settlement of trade disputes between its Members. A Member may bring a complaint against a fellow Member if it considers that benefits accruing to it under the covered agreements are being impaired by the actions of that other Member. Hence, the governance of global public goods requires attention to trade law obligations.

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