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WTO Labor Standards

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suri lee

on 28 April 2010

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Transcript of WTO Labor Standards

Labor Standards Labor Standards are those that are applied to the way workers are treated use of child labor use of forced labor the right to organize trade unions the right to organize strike minimum wages health and safety conditions working hours World Trade Organization an organization for liberalizing trade a forum for governments to negotiate trade agreements a place to settle trade disputes operates a system of trade rules But, could this be an excuse for protectionism? WTO rules and disciplines would provide a powerful incentive for member nations to improve workplace conditions and “international coherence” developing countries believe WTO is actually a bid by industrial nations to undermine the comparative advantage of lower wage trading partners. It is a protectionism. debate between two sides 1.members reached an agreement to recognize "core labor standards", but these standards should not be used for protectionism 3.Members defined the WTO’s role on this issue b. So, from then on, there is no work on this subject in the WTO’s Councils and Committees. a.Identifying the International Labour Organization (ILO) as the competent body to negotiate labour standards. c.However, the secretariats of the two organizations work together on technical issues under the banner of “coherence” in global economic policy-making. The “core” standards include freedom of association, no forced labour, no child labour, and no discrimination at work (including gender discrimination). 2.They made a declaration that the economic advantage of low-wage countries should not be questioned, but the WTO and ILO secretariats would continue their existing collaboration Labor Standards issue was also raised at the Seattle Ministerial Conference in 1999, but with no agreement reached. The 2001 Doha Ministerial Conference reaffirmed the Singapore declaration on labour without any specific discussion. (That's the most recent update of labour standards in WTO) If a country has lower standards for labour rights, it will gain unfair advantages in exports. If it is the case, should countries only trade with those that have similar labour standards? Or should WTO rules allow governments to take trade action as a means of putting pressure on other countries to comply with the labor standards? If Yes, WTO is the proper place to discuss and set rules on labour related issues — or to enforce them
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