08 February 2023 14:0015:15

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EU trade, investment and development diplomacy in a fragmented world: The SDGs and the Global Gateway

On 8 February 2023, ECDPM, the St. Gallen Endowment for Prosperity through Trade and the EUI Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies organised a public hybrid discussion on the complementarities and possible tensions between EU trade, investment and development policies, with a focus on the Global Gateway and the SDGs.

The discussion took place at the ECDPM Brussels office and online.


The world is in turmoil, characterised by compounded and lasting multiple crises, seemingly leading to increasing geopolitical fragmentation. For the European Union (EU), this raises fundamental questions about its place and role in the global economy. How can the EU become a more strategic political and economic actor, better articulating and promoting its interests on the global stage while promoting its core values and principles, tackling global public goods such as climate change and health, and supporting the sustainable development goals (SDGs), in particular in poorer and more vulnerable countries? Is the EU willing and equipped to address these multiple challenges in a coherent and effective manner, combining its geostrategic ambitions, economic interests and diplomacy and development objectives in a sustainable way? Can the Global Gateway provide the impetus for the EU to better combine, in a Team Europe approach, its international trade, investment and development policies, towards a European economic diplomacy conducive to achieving the SDGs?

Conducting a global assessment of trade & industrial policy on the SDGs in their 30th Global Trade Alert Report, Professor Simon J. Evenett and Johannes Fritz argue that governments, and in particular G20 members, could do better. They consider the possible tensions between the pursuit of what some regard as neoliberal trade and investment reforms and making progress on eliminating poverty and hunger and on adopting clean energy, to name just three of the SDGs. Some fret that commercial policy should do more, while others doubt the wisdom of linking trade policy to the SDGs in the first place. Yet, they conclude that trade-distortive measures tend to have overall negative effects, while promoting private investment might be more conducive to promoting sustainable development.


14:00 - 14:10
Introductory remark, Dr San Bilal, ECDPM

14:10 - 14:25
Insights from the Global Trade Alert, Prof. Simon J. Evenett

14:25 - 15:15
Discussion on the strategic and policy implications for the EU
· Professor Bernard Hoekman, EUI
· Ms Urszula Maria Stepkowska, DG Trade, European Commission

ECDPM Staff involved

Watch the recording of the event