When Brussels trade politics and farm economics meet: Do EU trade agreements enhance social development in the Global South.

01 October 2014 → 30 September 2018
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Law
trade agreements in Global South
Project description

This interdisciplinary project aims to bridge these two disconnected fields of research. Combining political science

to study the motivations behind EU-decisions (= Brussels) on social trade conditionality with agricultural

economics to study the effects of trade conditions on micro(= farm and farm worker) level, we aim to reach

a more profound understanding of how trade arrangements can contribute to social development. Specifically, we

examine the impact of social conditionality provisions in the EU's GSP+ trade arrangements for the banana

and coffee sectors at farm levels in Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Nicaragua and Ecuador. The GSP+

(Generalized System of Preferences) is the EU's most important instrument for social trade conditionality. Through

its GSP+ the EU gives better market access to developing countries on condition that they observe the 4 core

labour standards (freedom of trade unions, non-discrimination, abolition of forced labour and child labour) as

recognized by the International Labour Organization (ILO). The philosophy behind GSP+ is 'trade rather than aid'

(Cremona and Duran 2013). Only interdisciplinary research can examine whether and how social development can

effectively be promoted through trade arrangements