The European Union, Preferential Trade Agreements, and the International Regulation of Sustainable Biofuels
18 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2016
Date Written: March 2016
The EU has increasingly turned to PTAs (Preferential Trade Agreements) to spread environmental norms internationally. We argue that the rationale for this strategy is to be found in the tensions between the rigidity of the domestic dynamics of positive integration in the EU and the increased bindingness of WTO negative integration commitments. Consensual decision‐making procedures in the EU both drive the stringency of environmental regulation and make it resistant to change. When such environmental standards are challenged in the WTO, incentives arise for the EU to push for international environmental rules that can grant immunity from WTO legal challenges. When changing WTO rules is not an option, PTAs become a valid alternative. We illustrate the plausibility of our argument through an in‐depth case study of the EU's attempt to include provisions defining environmental sustainability criteria for the production of biofuels in the ongoing negotiations for a PTA with Malaysia.
Keywords: European Union, environmental, regulation, sustainable biofuels, WTO
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