The Impact of European Union’s Newly-Adopted Environmental Standards on its Trading Partners

Open access


The adoption by the European Union of environmental and social standards seems to affect trade relations with countries from outside the Union. Most seriously hurt are a great number of developing countries that are highly dependent on the European market for their exports. Complying with the said regulations means higher production costs, which eat into the respective countries’ international competitiveness. However, for all the widespread discontent, many developing countries are taking steps in order to adjust their production and export systems to the new rules. Unfortunately it will probably take a long time until full compliance is achieved. Meanwhile, in the short run, the frequent clashes between developing countries and their partners in the West in respect of environmental and social issues are disrupting the smooth functioning of international trade.

Ahlen, Jan (2009): The “EU Effect” and the Export of Environmental Standards to the U.S., University Libraries, available at:

Bhagwati, Jagdish (2005): In Defense of Globalization, Oxford University Press

Garvey, James (2008): The Ethics of Climate Change, right and wrong in a warming world, Continuum International Publishing Group

Hey, Christian (2005): EU Environmental Policies: A short history of the policy strategies, EU Environmental Policy Handbook

Honda, Keiichiro (2012): The Effect of EU Environmental Regulation on International Trade: Restriction of Hazardous Substances as a Trade Barrier, The Institute of Developing Economies, Discussion Paper nr. 341, available at:

Kiatpongsan, C. (2011): The EU-Thailand Relations: Tracing the Patterns of New Bilateralism, Amsterdam University Press, 2011

Kogan, Lawrence A. (2012): REACH Revisited: A frame work for evaluating whether a non-tariff measure has matured into an actionable non-tariff barrier to trade, American University International Law Review 28, available at:

Lenschow, Andrea (2006): Environmental Policy in the European Union: Bridging Policy, Politics and Polity Dimensions (Handbook of European Union Politics, Jorgensen, Knud E., Pollack Mark A. & Rosamund Ben Eds., SAGE Publications Ltd.)

Michida, Etsuyo (2014): The Policy Impact of Product-Related Environmental Regulations in Asia, The Institute of Developing Economies, Discussion Paper nr. 451

Michida, Etsuyo, Kaoru Nabeshiman, and Yasushi Ueki (2014): Impact of Product-related Environmental Regulations in Asia: Descriptive Statistics from a Survey of Firms in Vietnam, The Institute of Developing Economies, Discussion Paper nr. 466

Selin, Henrik and Stacy D. VanDeveer, (2015): EU Environmental Policy Making and Implementation: Changing Processes and Mixed Outcomes, Paper presented at the 14th Biennial Conference of the European Union Studies Association, Boston, Massachusetts, March 2015, file:///C:/Users/Sorin/Downloads/SelinVanDeveerEUSA2015.pdf

Zhou C., Eynard B., Roucoules L., Ducelier G. (2008): RoHS Compliance Declaration Based on RCP and XML Database (Global Design to Gain a Competitive Edge, Yan, X., Eynard B., Ion W.J., Eds., Springer)