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North-South Regional Trade Agreements as Legal Regimes

A Critical Assessment of the EU-SADC Economic Partnership Agreement

Clair Gammage

This book offers a critical reflection of the North-South regional trade agreements (RTAs), known as the Economic Partnership Agreements, negotiated between the EU and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries. Conceiving of regions as legal regimes, Clair Gammage highlights the challenges facing developing countries when negotiating RTAs with developed countries and interrogates the assumption that these agreements will and can promote sustainable development through trade.
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Chapter 3: The EU as a global actor

A Critical Assessment of the EU-SADC Economic Partnership Agreement

Clair Gammage

Extract

In Chapter 3, the normative role of the EU as a regional actor is discussed in detail. It will be shown that the EU’s strength as an international trade partner, or ‘market power’1 has enabled it to become a ‘normative actor’, which aims to export universal values through trade.2 It is argued that the EU’s normative power in external relations hinges on its market power. As such, an analysis of the common commercial policy set out in Article 209 TFEU is presented highlighting its parallelism with the EU’s internal trade strategy. Defining the EPAs as trade and development cooperation agreements, this chapter also explores the relationship between the common commercial policy and the development cooperation policy under Article 209 TFEU. If the EPAs have been built on the principles of ‘partnership’ and ‘equality’, it follows that the agreements should foster trade in a development-friendly way. However, the remaining chapters of this book demonstrate that the language of the legal texts suggests the primacy of economic rules over the promotion of ethical norms reinforcing the EU’s neoliberal conception of development. 1 C. Damro, ‘Market Power Europe: Exploring a Dynamic Conceptual Framework’ (2015) 22 Journal of European Public Policy 1336–54. 2 I. Manners, ‘The Normative Ethics of the European Union’ (2008) 84 International Affairs 45–60.

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