The European Union is expected to open its markets to Vietnam on Wednesday, while closing its trade doors with Cambodia, rewarding the former for progress on labor guarantees and sanctioning the latter for human rights abuses.
The moves mark Europe’s increased insistence that trading partnerships go beyond liberalization and be coupled with commitments to environmental, labor and social standards. On Wednesday, it will display both its carrot and stick.
In Strasbourg, EU lawmakers will vote on a free-trade agreement struck with Vietnam, the EU’s most comprehensive such pact with a developing country and its second with a member of the Association of Southeast Asian nations (ASEAN).
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