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Commission makes the case for non-sanction enforcement of TSD

Earlier this month, the European Commission announced its plans of opening a debate on trade and sustainable development (TSD) in EU trade agreements. In its position paper, the Commission reiterates the fact that there is no clear evidence that sanctions are necessarily more effective in enforcing TSD chapters, particularly with developing and least developed countries. The Commission includes two options that it will consider in this debate: 1) a more assertive approach that continues the EU’s non-sanction, broad scope of TSD enforcement with enhanced mechanisms for monitoring, collaboration between governments, and increased engagement, among other aspects; 2) a model with sanctions using the U.S. approach as an example. The Commission has examined, in greater detail, the effectiveness of the U.S. approach which requires proof of quantifiable, harmful impact on trade and investment in economic terms as a result of non-compliance with TSD provisions.

The Commission has sent its paper to European Parliament as well as the Council, anticipating a debate in the coming months on this issue. The paper follows the Commission President Juncker’s “Harnessing Globalisation” paper which outlined the EU’s commitment to a fair, rules-based international trading system.

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