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The clauses for the protection of labor rights and the environment in the European Union's preferential trade agreements: a critical analysis

Grant number: 20/02265-5
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: December 01, 2020 - November 30, 2021
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Law - Public Law
Principal Investigator:Daniel Damasio Borges
Grantee:Daniel Damasio Borges
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Humanas e Sociais (FCHS). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Franca. Franca , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:Fernanda Mello Sant Anna


In recent years, due to the crisis in the multilateral trading system, preferentialtrade agreements have assumed particular importance. Indeed, such agreements are todaythe main instrument through which States obtain new trade concessions for the benefit oftheir exports. In this context, the European Union has adopted an aggressive trade policy,having concluded a significant set of agreements. Moreover, clauses to protect theenvironment and labor rights were inserted in these agreements. Such clauses generate acontroversial debate. Some authors say that these clauses are a necessary guarantee againstsocial and environmental setbacks, in view of the risk of leveling below labor andenvironmental parameters in the name of competitiveness. Other authors claim that thoseclauses are simply a pretext to cover up protectionist interests of uncompetitive economicsectors. In the face of such controversy, a critical study of such clauses is necessary,analyzing in detail their wording and the way in which they are applied and interpreted. ForBrazil, this theme is of great relevance, given the priority of the current government insigning new preferential trade agreements and the growing criticism of the internationalcommunity to Brazilian social and environmental policies. (AU)

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