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EU-LDC Themes - Social, Environmental & Welfare aspects of Trade


Trade and capital liberalisation have economic efficiency effects, but there are also social, environmental and welfare aspects related to this liberalisation. For example, some countries do not want to import goods or services that are produced by child labour or that harm the environment. While countries may be able to agree on a set of minimum standards, it will be difficult to reach consensus on ways to handle violations of these standards. Developing countries fear that these standards will be used as disguised protectionism by developed countries.

In addition, trade and capital liberalisation can have distributional effects. Unconditional capital liberalisation can lead to speculative flows, which can destabilise the economy. And while trade liberalisation leads to higher welfare for a country in the long run according to economic theory, in the short-term adjustments are necessary and some groups may loose. For example, some industries can loose their market share in case of competing imports, which may cause declining profits and unemployment in that sector. Successful liberalisation may therefore need time and accompanying adjustment policies to prevent adverse (short-term) effects of liberalisation. These policies should ensure that the costs and benefits of liberalisation are shared in a fair manner.

This section provides information on:

  • Labour and environmental standards, the current state of debate in negotiations and agreements, impact on trade.

  • Labour and social policies, relation to trade liberalisation, ways to counter negative effects of liberalisation on those who are excluded from the benefits of globalisation.

  • Migration and labour relations, effects of trade liberalisation.


This section is organised as follows:

  • Research: academic papers, research literature, analysis and comment on social, environmental and welfare aspects of trade.

  • Policy: position papers, analysis and comment on the viewpoints of the EU and LDCs on standards and distributional effects of trade in the various negotiations and agreements.

  • News: recent developments in research, policy and projects relating to social, environmental and welfare aspects of trade.

  • Regions: regional news on recent developments in research, policy and projects relating to social, environmental and welfare aspects of trade.


As a recently launched site, we still have some way to go towards providing a comprehensive information resource. You can help by submitting your own contributions (academic papers, position papers, analysis or comments etc.). To do this, go to Contact us.

 



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