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The EU’s Inconsistent Approach towards Sustainability Treaties: Due diligence legislation v. trade policy

In February 2022 the European Commission launched a proposal for an EU corporate sustainability due diligence directive (‘CSDDD proposal’). Companies will be mandated, under threat of sanctions, to monitor adverse impacts that may arise throughout their value chain from violations of a series of sustainability treaties: that is, treaties on human rights, labor and the environment. These treaties are listed in a comprehensive Annex. This due diligence obligation applies globally; no distinctions are made depending on the countries where the value chain operates. A few months later, in June 2022, the European Commission came out with a policy paper on the Trade and Sustainable Development (‘TSD’) commitments which the EU will incorporate in its bilateral free trade agreements and which it would expect is trading partners to observe. The Commission positions these TSD commitments in trade policy amongst a wider group of instruments to support sustainable trade, such as its CSDDD proposal. However, the Commission glosses over important differences between these two initiatives, one of which relates to companies and the…

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EU – New Zealand FTA: Towards a new approach in the enforcement of trade and sustainable development obligations

 On 30 June 2022, the President of the EU Commission and the New Zealand Prime Minister jointly announced the successful termination of the negotiations for the creation of a new free trade area (FTA) between the European Union and New Zealand. As for New Zealand, the commercial liberalization provided by the new FTA would determine a…

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Overcoming the Global Vaccine and Therapeutics Lag and ‘Vaccine Apartheid’: Abuse of Rights in the EU’s Continued Blocking of the TRIPS Waiver for COVID Vaccines and Related Medicines

Entering the third year of this global pandemic, the United States posted a grim global record of 1 million COVID cases on 3 January 2022.  This record, of course, exists in a shadow of relative non-transparency about COVID incidences, fatalities, and hospitalizations in many parts of the world, arising either from authoritarian regimes refusing to provide…

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Equitable COVID Vaccine Distribution and Access: Enforcing International Legal Obligations under Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and the Right to Development

Editor's Note: This post was prepared in advance of my remarks for the 12 February 2021 Global Webinar of the Notre Dame Eck Institute of Global Health ("Are we all in this together? Assessing and addressing equitable access and distributive justice in global supply chains during major disease outbreaks").  By this time, US pharmaceutical companies…

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The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)’s Chapter 19 Dispute Settlement Procedures

Over this past weekend during the 37th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit hosted by Viet Nam, the ten ASEAN Member States (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Viet Nam) finally signed, together with five other trading partners - Japan, the People's Republic of China, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand…

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