In the future, he announced on Wednesday that the European Commission would like to impose trade sanctions on partner countries that violate mutual agreements on labor rights in climate policy or trade agreements.
European Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovsky said, “We want to make our trade agreements a bigger driver for positive change. We will strengthen our enforcement and seek sanctions if key labor or climate obligations are not met.”
All European trade agreements with third countries now contain chapters on sustainable development, for example agreements on compliance with the Paris Climate Agreement or recognition of international labor traditions. But even though the EU is a trade power, it is not always easy to implement these agreements in practice.
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That is why the Commission wants to make full use of the dispute resolution system in trade agreements for these chapters. If a panel of experts decides that a party has not adhered to its commitment to sustainable development, the party should specify how and when to fix it. Otherwise, the Commission wants to impose trade sanctions as a “last resort”.
The Commission negotiates trade agreements on behalf of member countries. It will apply the new policies to future negotiations and ongoing negotiations “where appropriate”. Trade talks are currently underway with countries including Indonesia, New Zealand, Australia and India.