Trade means economic growth, and the EU in its trade relations promotes a sustainable growth model as defined by the European Green Deal and EC Digital Strategy. The EU is committed to promoting sustainable development and universal values in all areas of its external action, including in trade and investment. Its trade policy promotes and protects sustainability standards and human rights in ASEAN, through unilateral trade preferences that aim to reduce poverty; bilateral and regional FTAs that implement labour and environmental requirements; and export control policy, such as in relation to products made with forced labour.

The EU is a global leader on Responsible Business Conduct, and its Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy sets as a priority to reinforce human rights as a responsibility of all actors of society, including business enterprises. It holds regular dialogue and consultations with stakeholders across ASEAN who are involved in the monitoring and implementation of sustainable development and human rights commitments by trading partners, including CSOs, human rights defenders, national human rights institutions and the business sector.

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