The Integration of Human Rights in Bilateral and Plurilateral Free Trade Agreements: Arguments for a Coherent Relationship with Reference to the Swiss Context
21 Currents: International Trade Law Journal 2 (2013)
18 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2013 Last revised: 8 Dec 2013
Date Written: October 4, 2013
In recent years, the locus of trade appears to have shifted from the multilateral stage to the bilateral and plurilateral levels. This article focuses on the integration of human rights in bilateral and plurilateral free trade agreements as a complementary strategy to achieving a coherent international law. It draws on Switzerland as a case study, in reference to its bilateral trade relations and as part of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). The study puts forward a mix of arguments supporting the integration of human rights in Swiss free trade agreements: international law impetuses stemming from the need to preserve a coherent international legal system and uphold the human rights obligations of all trade partners, Switzerland’s pledge to ensure coherence of its policies, and economic arguments purporting to strengthen economic integration and to reduce the costs for business.
Keywords: free trade agreements, international law, human rights, coherence, fragmentation, EFTA, FTA, Switzerland
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