Soft vs Hard Governance for Labour and Environmental Commitments in Trade Agreements: Comparing the US and EU Approaches

Vandana Gyanchandani
Content Type
Working Paper
Centre for Trade and Economic Integration, The Graduate Institute (IHEID)
Three methodologies are used to enforce labour and environmental commitments in the US and EU trade agreements: cooperative, sanctions and composite. In-depth analysis of the scope of commitments, level of protection, institutional framework as well as types of informal and formal dispute processes elucidates the pros and cons of such methodologies. Sanctions approach weakens cooperation by misjudging the complexity of domestic policy adjustments through transnational governance. Cooperative mechanism within the NAAEC's composite design emerges as the best approach: Submission on Enforcement Matters (SEM). As it provides for an independent secretariat supported by civil society group and factual records as a sunshine remedy to review citizen submissions. However, the process is constrained by political clout, lack of managerial capacity and legal dilemmas around informal lawmaking (IN-LAW) procedures.
Economics, Environment, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, Labor Issues, Sustainable Development Goals, Global Political Economy
Political Geography
United States, Europe, Global Focus, European Union