Labor standards are not part of the WTO covered agreements and there is no WTO institutional body that addresses labor matters as WTO Members have recognized that the International Labor Organization is the competent body.
However, WTO Members have included or linked to labor provisions in Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) since the 1990s with the stated aim of creating a level playing field among trading partners.
Recently some RTAs (such as USMCA) have included much more robust labor instruments, potentially undermining the linkage between the labor obligation violation and its impact on international trade.
The objective of this session is to analyze the relationship between Trade and Labor in recent RTAs (e.g. USMCA, CPTPP and EU’s RTAs) and the functioning of their dispute settlement mechanisms as they pertain to trade.
- Which contemporary RTAs include labor provisions subject to dispute settlement mechanisms?
- What should be the minimum standard for labor provisions in an RTA?
- Should the WTO start discussing and addressing trade and labor matters?
In the second portion of the session, the floor will open for a moderated audience discussion guided by the question:
Are we going to see more trade disputes arising from labor matters, and could the WTO become the new labor rights guardian as it did with intellectual property rights?
Continue the conversation in the dedicated chat on the Beyond Trade Network.
This session will be simultaneously translated into French, Spanish and English (when needed) via the Interactio application, by entering the code GTW2020 (please use headphones). Open the application in your Web browser or download it for iOS Mobile App or for Android App.