A Call for an Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Labor: Why and How the WTO Should Play a Role in Upholding Core Labor Standards
60 Pages Posted: 24 May 2012
Date Written: May 23, 2012
This article assesses the normative question of whether the World Trade Organization (WTO) is the appropriate forum to enforce compliance with labour standards. It not only demonstrates why much of the concern surrounding the WTO’s engagement with the 'non-trade' issue of labour rights is overstated and can be overcome, but also offers salient insight into why the WTO should view trade restrictions, which encourage compliance with Core Labor Standards (CLS), as compatible with the philosophical underpinnings of the WTO and key principles of public international law. Having established that the WTO should play a role in the enforcement of CLS, the proceeds to evaluate the implementation options, namely via the 'judicial' or 'legislative' method. The article concludes by endorsing the negotiation of an Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Labour.
Keywords: World Trade Organization, labour, like product, Article XX, core labour standards, International Labour Organisation
JEL Classification: K31, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation