The Role of Civil Society in EU Preferential Trade Agreements

19 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2017

See all articles by Jia Xu

Jia Xu

University of Goettingen (Gottingen)

Date Written: January 31, 2017


As preferential trade agreements have increasingly and progressively influenced issues of sustainable development or transparency, such a development urges to a great extent the accumulating demand of civil society participation in the trade agreements. Under the stress of civil society, EU Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) tend to respond to this irresistible trend by inserting civil society provisions in the treaty texts. Although civil societies were expected to provide trade agreements - EU PTAs as such - with democratic legitimacy by being involved in the decision making process; requiring transparency; and collabourating with the parties, this paper argues that the current system does not suffice, and this situation shall be changed. This paper initially introduces and analyses important aspects of consultative mechanisms of civil society in EU PTAs. Afterwards, it reviews this consultative mechanism, highlighting problems concerning the implementation of civil society consultative systems in EU PTAs, while seeking inspiration from the instance of U.S. PTAs, taking the their approach by means of comparison.

Keywords: Preferential trade agreement, EU, civil society participation.

Suggested Citation

Xu, Jia, The Role of Civil Society in EU Preferential Trade Agreements (January 31, 2017). European Society of International Law (ESIL) 2016 Annual Conference (Riga), Available at SSRN: or

Jia Xu (Contact Author)

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) ( email )

Platz der Gottinger Sieben 3
Gottingen, D-37073

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