How should sustainable development be addressed in the trade agreements negotiated by the EU? The European Commission published a document – referred to as a “non-paper” – intended to contribute to an open and inclusive debate aimed at improving the EU’s approach in this field. It builds up on the Commission’s recent reflection paper on harnessing globalisation, which underlined the EU’s commitment to a fair, international, rules-based order based on high standards, cooperation and strengthening of multilateral institutions. The document, sent to the European Parliament and the Council, asks several questions on whether the current Trade and Sustainable Development chapters are meeting expectations, and what could be done to improve them. Also, whether a more assertive partnership should be pursued, and whether a sanctions-based approach would address shortcomings. The Commission has been negotiating Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) chapters in all its recent trade agreements (see example of measures foreseen most recently with Japan), as part of the EU’s value-based trade agenda, in line with ‘Trade for All‘ strategy of 2015. More on EU trade and sustainable development initiatives.