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Free Trade, Environment, Agriculture, and Plurilateral Treaties: The Ambivalent Example of Mercosur, CETA, and the EU–Vietnam Free Trade Agreement

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Research Unit Sustainability and Climate Policy, 04229 Leipzig, Germany
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Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Rostock, 18051 Rostock, Germany
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Faculty of Law and Interdisciplinary Faculty, University of Rostock, 18051 Rostock, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Bruce Morley and Jungho Baek
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3153; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063153
Received: 17 September 2020 / Revised: 8 March 2021 / Accepted: 11 March 2021 / Published: 13 March 2021
Transnational trade holds opportunities for prosperity and development if accompanied by a robust political and legal framework. Yet, where such a framework is missing, transnational trade is frequently associated with, among others, negative impacts on the environment. Applying a legal comparison, this article assesses if recent free trade agreements, i.e., the Mercosur Agreement, CETA and the EU–Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, negotiated by the European Union, have been underpinned with effective environmental standards so that they are in line with global environmental goals and avoid detrimental effects on climate and biodiversity. Besides that, we evaluate the extent to which these agreements at least enable and incentivise environmental pioneering policies in the trading Parties. In particular, we discuss the likely impacts of the agreements on the agricultural sector. The analysis finds that, while a few mandatory standards concerning, e.g., deforestation have been established, overall, the agreements lack a comprehensive legal framework to uphold/enhance environmental protection. Moreover, weak dispute settlement mechanisms to ensure compliance with sustainability measures limits their effectiveness. In addition, the provisions on regulatory cooperation and investor-state dispute settlement are likely to negatively affect the decision-making processes and (thus) discourage ecological pioneering policies in the trading Parties. Hence, there is a long way to go so that transnational trade is compatible with global environmental goals. View Full-Text
Keywords: trade; globalisation; Paris agreement; convention on biological diversity; agriculture; free trade agreements; CETA; Mercosur; EU–Vietnam free trade agreement; climate change trade; globalisation; Paris agreement; convention on biological diversity; agriculture; free trade agreements; CETA; Mercosur; EU–Vietnam free trade agreement; climate change
MDPI and ACS Style

Heyl, K.; Ekardt, F.; Roos, P.; Stubenrauch, J.; Garske, B. Free Trade, Environment, Agriculture, and Plurilateral Treaties: The Ambivalent Example of Mercosur, CETA, and the EU–Vietnam Free Trade Agreement. Sustainability 2021, 13, 3153. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063153

AMA Style

Heyl K, Ekardt F, Roos P, Stubenrauch J, Garske B. Free Trade, Environment, Agriculture, and Plurilateral Treaties: The Ambivalent Example of Mercosur, CETA, and the EU–Vietnam Free Trade Agreement. Sustainability. 2021; 13(6):3153. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063153

Chicago/Turabian Style

Heyl, Katharine; Ekardt, Felix; Roos, Paula; Stubenrauch, Jessica; Garske, Beatrice. 2021. "Free Trade, Environment, Agriculture, and Plurilateral Treaties: The Ambivalent Example of Mercosur, CETA, and the EU–Vietnam Free Trade Agreement" Sustainability 13, no. 6: 3153. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063153

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