The sustainable development clauses in Free Trade Agreements of the EU with Asian countries: perspectives for ASEAN?
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The paper shows that the present EU GSP Plus arrangement is to be considered as showing the level of aspiration of the EU for future FTA partners regarding international rules of sustainability and good governance. Following its 2007 East Asia Policy Guidelines, the EU started negotiations on an interregional EU–ASEAN FTA and on the FTA with South Korea. The EU–Korea FTA and the European Commission's reactions to the consultant's advice on sustainability provide evidence of the negotiation strategy regarding the sustainability chapter in such FTAs with Asia. We evaluate this chapter of the EU–Singapore FTA, concluded in December 2012 against this background and find that they are highly similar. We conclude that the EU–Singapore FTA sustainable development provisions can be considered as a benchmark for the on-going FTA negotiations with Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand, and as a baseline for such provisions in a future EU–ASEAN FTA.