The EU has made international human rights standards a top priority of its trade strategies. The essential human rights clause is the operative policy tool to introduce human right standards as conditions in trade agreements, but previous research has demonstrated a lack of effectiveness of international trade agreements to influence domestic state practices. This study aims to analyse the effectiveness of the human rights clause by investigating the research question: what is the effect of ratifying a trade agreement including the human rights clause with the EU on a country’s human rights performance? The main theoretical argument underlying this thesis holds that because the EU usually has a position of dominant commercial leverage vis-à-vis its trade partner, it can make the gains from trade conditional on compliance with human rights standards. Therefore, the main hypothesis expects that if a country has ratified a bilateral trade agreement with the EU, it will demonstrate improved human rights performance. In order to measure the influence of EU trade agreement ratification on human rights performance, the analysis involved a time-series cross-sectional (or panel) multivariate regression with control variables, comparing 126 countries over a 15-year period from 1997 to 2011. No significant influence was found of ratifying the human rights clause on personal integrity rights violations, which indicates the absence of a direct relation between EU trade agreement ratification and human rights performance. Given the inconsistent findings compared to the literature, it is important that future research continues to investigate how treaty commitments are translated into policy action. Other than studying trade negotiations and the state-level characteristics that influence human rights reforms, researching the institutions for monitoring and scrutinizing how a government applies international human right standards to its domestic policies would be a valuable contribution.