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Labor Standards and the Free Trade Area of the Americas

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  • Kimberly Ann Elliott

    ()
    (Institute for International Economics)

Abstract

Relatively little controversy surrounds three of the four core labor standards - forced labor, discrimination, and child labor. But the right to associate and organize freely and to bargain collectively is more controversial. And the use of trade sanctions to enforce labor standards is most divisive of all. In the context of trade negotiations, attention to labor issues can lower adjustment costs, slow a race to the bottom from the bottom, among developing countries themselves, and increase political support for trade agreements in developed countries. Elliott suggests using a parallel track to negotiate labor issues and link progress in those negotiations more closely to the trade negotiations. She concludes that nothing is to be gained by workers and labor activists keeping sanctions to enforce standards in trade agreements as the focus of their demands. Instead, they should ratchet up the pressure on governments to adopt concrete plans of action for raising labor standards and to finance implementation of those plans.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Peterson Institute for International Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number WP03-7.

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Date of creation: Oct 2003
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Handle: RePEc:iie:wpaper:wp03-7

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  1. Chau, Nancy H. & Kanbur, Ravi, 2000. "The Race to the Bottom, From the Bottom," Working Papers 127681, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  2. Kimberly Ann Elliott & Richard B. Freeman, 2003. "Can Labor Standards Improve under Globalization?," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 338, July.
  3. Toke Aidt & Zafiris Tzannatos, 2002. "Unions and Collective Bargaining : Economic Effects in a Global Environment," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15241, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Häberli, Christian & Jansen, Marion & Monteiro, José-Antonio, 2012. "Regional trade agreements and domestic labour market regulation," ILO Working Papers 470016, International Labour Organization.
  2. KAMATA Isao, 2014. "Regional Trade Agreements with Labor Clauses: Effects on labor standards and trade," Discussion papers 14012, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).

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