article aims at assessing the potential and limitations of preferential trade
agreements (PTAs) in safeguarding countries’ efforts
to promote renewable energy (RE). In particular, it explores whether and to
what extent PTAs recently concluded by the European Union (EU) have addressed
the main shortcomings found under the World Trade Organization (WTO) law.
Namely, the fact that WTO rules are currently too stringent on the use of RE subsidies
while too lenient on the use of trade remedy measures against RE technologies.
It argues that EU PTAs could and should have gone further with regards to both
subsidy and trade remedy disciplines that enable RE promotion, substantively as
well procedurally, while still remaining WTO-compatible. The article further finds
that much of the potential of EU PTAs has remained untapped due to
inconsistency in policy practice, which reflects the lack of a coherent, ambitious and forward-looking negotiating
strategy on the part of the EU. The article concludes by identifying which
approach to RE promotion in PTAs is preferable and should be consistently
pursued by the EU in future negotiations.