Short description

Public opinion and policy makers fear that international trade, in particular a further liberalization thereof, may undermine or jeopardize policies and measures on a wide variety of issues, for example, climate change, the protection the environment and the sustainable development, good governance, cultural rights, labour rights, public health, social welfare, national security, food safety, access to knowledge, consumer interests and animal welfare. There is a general consensus that these non-trade concerns, which cover very different societal aspirations and fears, must be addressed in EU external policy and in particular measures relating to international trade and foreign direct investment.

However, many of the trade measures introduced by developed countries to address non-trade concerns have been met by developing countries with cautious distrust if not with resistance or dissent. Developing countries often doubt the authenticity of such concerns that can be inspired by protectionist aims, rather than genuine non-trade concerns. Moreover, developing countries see these measures as an attempt by developed countries to impose their social, ethical or cultural values and preferences on exporting developing countries.

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