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The Entwining of Trade Policy with Environmental and Labour Standards

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  • Anderson, Kym

Abstract

While environmental and labour issues are not new to the GATT, nor to other trade policy fora, they are likely to have a more prominent role in trade policy discussions in the years ahead for the newly formed World Trade Organization (WTO). Many developing countries perceive the entwining of these social issues with trade policy as a threat to both their sovereignty and their economies, while significant groups in advanced economies consider it unfair, ecologically unsound, even immoral, to trade with countries adopting much lower standards than their own. This paper examines why these issues are becoming more prominent, whether the WTO is an appropriate forum to discuss them, and how they affect developing and other economies. It concludes that: (a) the direct effect on developing economies is likely to be small and for some may even be positive through improved terms of trade and/or compensatory transfer payments; but (b) there is an important indirect negative effect on them and other economies, namely the potential erosion of the rules-based multilateral trading system that would result from an over-use of trade measures to pursue environmental or labour market objectives.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 1158.

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Date of creation: Mar 1995
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1158

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Related research

Keywords: Environmental Standards; GATT; Labour Standards; Trade Policy;

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Cited by:
  1. Markku Simula, 1999. "Trade and Environmental Issues in Forest Production," IDB Publications 25678, Inter-American Development Bank.
  2. Anderson, Kym, 1996. "Social Policy Dimensions of Economic Integration: Environmental and Labour Standards," CEPR Discussion Papers 1440, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Spinanger, Dean, 1997. "The WTO after the Singapore ministerial: Much to do about what?," Kiel Discussion Papers 304, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  4. Anderson, Kym, 1995. "Agricultural Competitiveness After the Uruguay Round," 1995 Conference (39th), February 14-16, 1995, Perth, Australia 148786, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  5. Ngo Van Long & Antoine Soubeyran, 1998. "Pollution, Pigouvian Taxes, and Asymmetric International Oligopoly," CIRANO Working Papers 98s-30, CIRANO.
  6. Gabriel Rodriguez & Yiagadeesen Samy, 2003. "Analysing the effects of labour standards on US export performance. A time series approach with structural change," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(9), pages 1043-1051.
  7. Markku Simula, 2001. "Comercio y medio ambiente en la producción forestal," IDB Publications 31298, Inter-American Development Bank.
  8. Maskus, Keith E. & Rutherford, Thomas J. & Selby, Steven, 1995. "Implications of changes in labor standards: A computational analysis for Mexico," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 171-188.

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