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Asia Europe Journal

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 23–39 | Cite as

The EU as a norm promoter through trade. The perceptions of Vietnamese elites

  • Daniela SicurelliEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper investigates how the external images of the European Union (EU) shape its identity vis-à-vis the USA and focuses on how Vietnamese elites perceive EU-sponsored norms in the context of the ongoing bilateral trade negotiations. The EU emerges as an actor able to export regulatory standards, improve the status of its trade partner within multilateral forums and, at the same time, respect the local ownership of the development process. At the same time, it is criticized for the lack of coherence in its foreign policy, its internal divisions and intrusiveness in Vietnamese domestic politics. Moreover, differences emerge in the way government and non-governmental actors portray the EU, further challenging its univocal representation as a political leader. These perceptions have implications concerning the EU’s ability to export its constitutive principles and values to Vietnam. More broadly, this case study provides insights into the prospects of a future interregional trade agreement with the ASEAN and carries out a critical assessment of the identity and role of the EU as a normative power.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Social ResearchUniversity of TrentoTrentoItaly

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