Labor Rights and Environmental Protection Under NAFTA and Other U.S. Free Trade Agreements
49 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2011
Date Written: March 21, 2011
The article reviews the evolution of labor and environmental provisions of key U.S. free trade agreements, including NAFTA, the United States - Jordan FTA, CAFTA-DR, and the United States - Peru Trade Promotion Agreement. Particular attention is given to procedures for citizen submissions, dispute settlement, possible trade sanctions and opportunities for consultation and technical assistance. Labor rights and environmental protection are also analyzed as human rights under other international agreements. FTA provisions have the advantage of being "hard" treaty-based law but depend on the Parties’ good faith efforts to meet the goals of improving national labor and environmental laws and their implementation, efforts that have not always been present. Objectives are most likely to be achieved if each agreement makes provision, either in the text or in supplemental agreements, for quasi-independent secretariats that have adequate financial resources and freedom from undue interference by the Parties. The United States, for its part, should be prepared to provide technical expertise, adequate financial support, opportunities for meaningful consultation and occasional diplomatic pressure.
Keywords: International trade, Free trade agreements, Labor rights, Environmental protection, Human rights, Trade and human rights
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation