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Journal of Economic Integration 2000 June;15(2) :163-194.
The European Union as Trade Actor and Environmental Activist: Contradictory Roles?

Charlotte Bretherton John Vogler 

Liverpool John Moores University
Copyright ©2000 Journal of Economic Integration
The European Union has increasigly become an actor in its own right in the politics of the international economy. By virtue of its Common Commercia l Policy it has always been a formidable trade policy actor, but over the last twenty years the EC has also developed extensive environmental policy competences and the Union has aspired to a leadership role in negotiations on global sustainability. This article describes the complex and multifaceted character of the EU as an external trade and environmental policy actor. It then considers cases where the two roles complement or contradict each other including; the Committee on Trade and Environment of the WTO, the Basel Convention, 'leghold traps', and the Biosafety Protocol for genetically modified organisms. The article concludes that, while disputes within the Union tend to be resolved in favour of trade interests, policy on the latter has been significantly influenced by the Union's newer concern with environmental sustainability. (JEL Classifications: F13)
Keywords: European Union | trade/environment | competences | World Trade Oganization | international actors
1. European Commission [1997b], Agenda 21, the First Five Years; European Community Progress on the Implementation of Agenda 211992-97, Brussels.
2. Andersen, M.S. & Liefferink, D. eds. [1997], European Environmental Policy: The pioneers, Manchester, Manchester University Press.
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