Journal article

Unravelling the Puzzle of Social Standards’ Design in EU and US Trade Agreements

E Postnikov

New Political Economy | Taylor & Francis (Routledge) | Published : 2019


The European Union (EU) and the United States (US) are signing preferential trade agreements (PTAs) increasingly used as vehicles for exporting social regulation, such as labour and environmental standards. Despite the similarity in terms of the inclusion of such provisions, their design varies greatly between US and EU agreements. The US exports its domestic standards, relying on coercive enforcement, while the EU emphasises international rules and soft measures. Why do US PTAs have stricter social standards than those signed by the EU? Using the principal–agent approach to explain the domestic politics of social provisions in EU and US PTAs, I argue that greater insulation of trade executi..

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