Trade roundtable

Social dimension of EU trade politics

This academic event addressed ‘The Social Dimension of European Union Trade Policy’. The outcome of this meeting will be published in a special issue of the European Foreign Affairs Review (14, 4, 2009).

Trade is the oldest and most powerful external policy domain of the EU. Yet the social dimension of Europe’s common commercial policy has scarcely been researched. This roundtable examined various aspects such as labour conditionality in the EU's Generalized System of Preferences, social provisions in EU bilateral agreements, preferences of the EU member states in this area, gender equity and EU trade relations, the external dimension of the EU's corporate social responsibility strategy, and a comparison between EU and US policies.

The following papers were presented and discussed:

  • Conceptual Framework: a social clause in trade politics (Brian Burgoon, Free University of Amsterdam)
  • The EU and a social clause: a protectionist wolf in social clothing? Jan Orbie, Tine Boucké & Dries Verlet)
  • The role of labour standards in EU unilateral trade policy: consistency with the ILO? (Lisa Tortell, DINAMIA, and Jan Orbie, Ghent University)
  • The legality of Europe’s GSP labour conditionality (Tonia Novitz, Bristol University)
  • Trading-in gender equity: a discursive analysis of EU trade policy (Jacqui True, University of Auckland)
  • The social dimension of EU trade policy in Europe’s broader foreign policy framework (Jeffrey Kenner, University of Nottingham)
  • A comparison of US and EU approaches to trade and labour standards (Susan Aaronson, George Washington University)
  • Social issues in the new generation of EU bilateral trade agreements (Fabienne Bossuyt, Aston University)
  • Member state preferences on labour standards in EU trade agreements (Bart Kerremans and Myriam Martins Gistelynck, Leuven University)