SUSTAINABILITY IMPACT ASSESSMENT OF TRADE AGREEMENTS: FROM PUBLIC DIALOGUE TO INTERNATIONAL GOVERNANCE
In common with the governments of the United States and Canada the European Commission subjects its trade policy to a publicly conducted impact assessment process. The EC approach differs from the others in assessing economic and social impacts as well as environmental ones, in other countries as well as domestically. In principle this can contribute to stengthening international governance. In practice difficulties are encountered in integrating the studies into the decision-making process. This paper examines the experience that has been accumulated in the EC programmme, with particular reference to studies at the global level for World Trade Organisation negotiations and regionally for the Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade Area. These two examples offer pointers for how the impact assessment process might be adapted or extended to make a stronger contribution to international governance at both regional and global level.
Sustainability impact assessment, trade agreements, European Union, World Trade Organisation, governance
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