Handbook on the EU and International Trade
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Handbook on the EU and International Trade

Edited by Sangeeta Khorana and María García

The Handbook on the EU and International Trade presents a multidisciplinary overview of the major perspectives, actors and issues in contemporary EU trade relations. Changes in institutional dynamics, Brexit, the politicisation of trade, competing foreign policy agendas, and adaptation to trade patterns of value chains and the digital and knowledge economy are reshaping the European Union's trade policy. The authors tackle how these challenges frame the aims, processes and effectiveness of trade policy making in the context of the EU's trade relations with developed, developing and emerging states in the global economy.
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Chapter 12: The promotion of social trade by the European Union in its external trade relations

Lore Van den Putte and Samantha Velluti


The chapter examines the European Union’s (EU) practice of promoting social rights and international labour standards in its external trade relations. After providing a general background of the trade-labour linkage, with particular reference to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and EU strategic partnership, it proceeds to the analysis of the unilateral and bilateral trade arrangements of the EU. In so doing, it compares the EU’s approach under the incentive scheme of the Generalized System of Trade Preferences (GSP+) with that under the so-called ‘new generation’ of free trade agreements (FTAs), and also in contrast to the United States’ (US) approach. In this context it looks at the cooperative nature of EU social conditionality. The chapter concludes with some reflections on the main findings of the evaluation of EU social trade carried out in the preceding sections.

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