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

See all articles by Renee L. Chartres

Renee L. Chartres

Australian Human Rights Centre

Bryan Christopher Mercurio

Chinese University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law; University of New South Wales - Faculty of Law

Date Written: May 23, 2012

Abstract

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

Chartres, Renee L. and Mercurio, Bryan Christopher, 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 (May 23, 2012). North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation, Vol. 37, pp. 665-724, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2065621

Renee L. Chartres

Australian Human Rights Centre ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

Bryan Christopher Mercurio (Contact Author)

Chinese University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law ( email )

6/F Western Teaching Complex
Shatin, New Territories
Hong Kong
(852) 2696 1139 (Phone)

University of New South Wales - Faculty of Law

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

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