DP16956 EU Trade Sustainability Impact Assessments: Revisiting the Consultation Process

Author(s): Bernard Hoekman, Hugo Rojas-Romagosa
Publication Date: January 2022
Keyword(s): consultations, EU, non-trade issues, sustainability impact assessments, Trade Negotiations
JEL(s): F13, J88, O19, Q01
Programme Areas: International Trade and Regional Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=16956

Trade sustainability impact assessments (SIAs) are the main tool used by the European Commission to assess the potential effects of trade policy initiatives and to engage with stakeholders. SIAs have two elements: a model-based quantitative analysis and a consultation process. Both include a focus on a broad range of non-trade issues, many of which are included in sustainable development chapters of EU trade agreements. This paper argues for making consultation processes a more useful input into the design of trade cooperation. Scaled responses to a survey with closed end questions on a broad range of non-trade policy objectives combined with deliberative polling of a representative sample of survey respondents could help identify what stakeholders in the EU and partner countries perceive to be priority non-trade objectives, as well as issue-specific baselines, performance targets and appropriate instruments to apply. Building bridges between a revamped ex ante consultation process and mechanisms that encompass public and private actors to support implementation, resolve problems and assess progress over time could further help achieve trade and sustainable development goals.