Are Labour Provisions In Free Trade Agreements Improving Labour Conditions

But there are also considerable differences. Unlike the EU, the United States has made no effort to wrap up labour provisions as part of a more comprehensive approach to managing the dimensions of “sustainable development” of trade relations. Work and environmental issues are addressed in separate chapters. The effects of this difference are most evident in the monitoring and notification processes put in place by both agreements. While the EU model provides for the obligation to monitor and verify the impact of the agreement on sustainable development (including work), the US model focuses on communicating information on relevant work issues within the parties. The U.S. model therefore focuses on labour issues in the national systems of its trading partners. On the other hand, the EU model focuses – at least in theory – on entering the trade agreement in order to determine the impact of the new trade relations themselves on workers` conditions, with wider social and environmental consequences as soon as the trade agreement comes into force. Other provisions, when contained, could have positive effects. In this regard, a number of commitments in trade agreements and trade-related policies could be used to create strong (non) incentives for action. This could include, for example, relaxed rules of origin for strategic product lines for companies that demonstrate that they have improved the protection of certain species according to labour standards; Footnote 87 competition rules that stipulate that the misuse of labour standards could be considered an illegal subsidy that can be implemented; a negative list of prohibited working customs that could trigger ILO reporting measures, which could be considered “benefits granting” within the meaning of Article 14, point a), of the Convention on Subsidies and Compensatory Measures; and provisions that provide for export credit licences and other forms of assistance to be granted only if they demonstrate compliance with certain labour standards.

Footnote 88 These ideas are presented to make it clear that future active work measures in trade agreements to improve working conditions and workplace rights should not be limited to the TSD chapters of EU trade agreements alone. It is clear that they must be carefully examined to ensure that such measures do not lead to covert protectionism and that they are implemented in a manner that meets other legal obligations (e.g. B, the World Trade Organization agreements). In principle, they must have a positive impact on the lives of workers and on the labour force as a whole. One wonders whether one of the reasons why labour rules have not been applied very well and applied in the past is that trade agents may view these provisions as an attack on the competitiveness of exporting industries. This underscores the need for empirically supported research on the economic impact of occupational health and safety provisions in free trade agreements, if they have been associated with improving labour rights while avoiding negative economic effects. Footnote 89 Here are Bahrain, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Peru. See U.S. Department of Laboratory, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, `Sub-missions Under Labor Provisions of Free Trade Agreements` received on July 19, 2019. Since the Doha Ministerial Conference, there have been no serious attempts to incorporate work arrangements into multilateral trade agreements8, but they have resumed in the bilateral and regional framework9. The number of free trade agreements negotiated in recent years, which contain labour-related provisions, has increased considerably.

While in 1995 there were only three trade agreements on labour rules, this proportion rose to 77 in 2016, which increased the tota share