In Europe, a lively scientific debate has emerged about the role of norms in the European foreign policy. One aspect of this debate is norms related to human rights, labour rights and environmental standards in European trade policy. In this article, the normative dimension of EU's trade policy will be analysed in comparison with the US by using the concept of normative power. By classifying the trade approaches of the EU and the United States, we question the hypothesis of Europe's normative power and ask whether the EU is a unique normative actor in world politics.
In the second section, normative power will be defined in demarcation to concepts of great power, empire and hegemon. In the third section, this theoretical differentiation will be used for the empirical classification of the European and American trade approaches. First, the self-proclamation of the EU and the US related to human rights, labour standards and environmental standards in trade policy will be analysed. Then trade approaches of the EU and the US will be measured in accordance to their self-proclamation by analysing the trade policy in three dimensions: negotiations, agreements and implementation. The trade agreements of the EU and the US with Chile and Mexico serve here as case studies.European Foreign Affairs Review