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EU Trade Policy: Principles versus Pragmatism. The Cases of Vietnam and Cambodia


European Union (EU) trade policy has appeared rather contradictory recently towards countries in which there are instances of human rights violations, such as Vietnam and Cambodia. Given that principled pragmatism, set down in the 2016 EU Global Strategy, entails the view that the EU approach must fit the reality of EU interests, it is a useful lens for explaining why the EU treats its trade partners differently. This is important in view of the EU’s evolving foreign and security policy in the Southeast Asian region and its distinctive economic, security and strategic interests in Vietnam and Cambodia.
Keywords: principled pragmatism; human rights conditionality; EU trade policy; EU foreign policy; Southeast Asia