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A deep trade agenda for fundamental rights: framing fundamental rights for the new generation EU trade agreements with other developed countries

Mancini, I. (2020). A deep trade agenda for fundamental rights: framing fundamental rights for the new generation EU trade agreements with other developed countries. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This research emerged from the desire to identify mechanisms ensuring that fundamental rights are not jeopardised by far reaching “deep” trade agreements and rather proactively protected. The “EU Deep Trade Agenda” resulted in ambitious free trade agreements (FTAs) stretching the stakes and implications for rights over a wide range of people. Because these FTAs go significantly beyond strictly trade-related issues, they have gained the label “deep”. The thesis borrows this term to examine the new generation EU FTAs from a fundamental rights perspective. The term “deep” is used as a methodological expedient to target the new “deep” features of EU FTAs at different levels of law-making, from the negotiations to the implementation. For each level, the thesis sheds light on major omissions and problems that arise for fundamental rights. To this end, the research investigates the new generation EU FTAs with other major developed economies in North America and Asia, focusing in particular on labour and data privacy rights, in the broader context of digitalisation and backlash to globalisation and free trade.

The thesis develops the notion of “deep agenda for fundamental rights” to refer to mechanisms and best practices that can ensure effective fundamental rights protection in the context of EU “deep” FTAs. From a normative perspective, the thesis identifies and conceives ways to make fundamental rights and trade converge, thus ensuring that they mutually sustain each other. This stance differs from approaches that would exclude any consideration on fundamental rights from the trade agreement altogether. This study is also critical of the current practice in EU FTAs and argues that self-standing provisions on fundamental rights within the text of the FTAs is not enough. Fundamental rights in trade begins with the trade negotiations, goes through new levels of law-making, and up to the implementation. The core message is that fundamental rights require consideration and safeguards at all these levels. The thesis thus provides new lenses to think about fundamental rights in trade, in a way that has so far largely remained unexplored by the literature and neglected in policy circles.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Departments: Doctoral Theses
The City Law School > The City Law School Doctoral Theses
The City Law School
[thumbnail of Mancini, Isabella_PhDThesis_9January2020.pdf]
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