Labor Rights and Environmental Protection Under NAFTA and Other U.S. Free Trade Agreements

49 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2011

See all articles by David A. Gantz

David A. Gantz

Univ. Of Arizona College of Law; Mexico Center, Baker Institute

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

Gantz, David A., Labor Rights and Environmental Protection Under NAFTA and Other U.S. Free Trade Agreements (March 21, 2011). University of Miami Inter-American Law Review, 2011, Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 11-13, Available at SSRN:

David A. Gantz (Contact Author)

Univ. Of Arizona College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Rogers College of Law
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States
520-490-3004 (Phone)

Mexico Center, Baker Institute ( email )

6100 Main Street, MS-40
Houston, TX 77005
United States
520-490-3004 (Phone)

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