Trade Agreements with ASEAN Countries

  • Arlo Poletti
  • Daniela Sicurelli


The position of the EU in the negotiations with Vietnam shows that the EU is less prone to concede long transition periods and flexible rules of origin to an ASEAN country than to Latin American countries. Moreover, the agreement includes a soft language concerning suspension of reciprocal trade commitments in case of human rights violations, while it promotes the most detailed consultation procedure in the enforcement of sustainable development. A comparison with the trade agreement concluded with Singapore also shows that the EU has exerted greater pressures on Vietnam to adjust to EU regulatory standards than to other high-income ASEAN members. Due to the downstream location of Vietnam in high-tech manufacturing and to its labour-intensive industry, import-dependent and sector-specific protectionist groups strongly mobilized in order to affect the negotiations. Competition with the US also strengthened European exporters’ interest to obtain conditions enabling access to these countries’ markets similar to those granted to their US counterparts. NGOs found allies in the protectionist industry in the promotion of high labour and environmental standards and strict enforcement procedures. However, these groups proved less effective in pushing forward binding human rights clauses. Similar patterns of societal mobilization are emerging in the ongoing negotiations with other ASEAN members.


Vietnam European exporter import-dependent interests import-competing firms NGOs 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arlo Poletti
    • 1
  • Daniela Sicurelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Social ResearchUniversity of TrentoTrentoItaly

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