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The Impact of Labour Rights Commitments in EU Trade Agreements: The Case of Peru


  • Jan Orbie

    (Centre for EU Studies, Department of Political Science, Ghent University, Belgium)

  • Lore Van den Putte

    (Centre for EU Studies, Department of Political Science, Ghent University, Belgium)

  • Deborah Martens

    (Centre for EU Studies, Department of Political Science, Ghent University, Belgium)


While the inclusion of labour rights in European Union (EU) trade agreements has become an ‘unobjectionable norm’, analyses of their impact have been largely absent from the literature. This article aims to partly fill this gap in existing research by examining the impact of labour rights commitments in the EU–Peru–Colombia agreement, with particular reference to the agricultural sector in Peru. Following a brief background overview of labour rights in agriculture in Peru, we draw up the analytical framework for assessing the impact of these commitments. We discern three distinctive legal commitments and find that they are flexible and conservative, also compared to provisions in other EU trade agreements. Subsequently, we assess the impact of these commitments by analysing to what extent they are being upheld in practice. Empirical evidence from several sources, including field research, shows that the Peruvian government has failed to implement the labour rights commitments in several respects. In the conclusions, we point to the cautious role of the EU, which has scope to monitor Peru’s labour rights compliance more proactively.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Orbie & Lore Van den Putte & Deborah Martens, 2017. "The Impact of Labour Rights Commitments in EU Trade Agreements: The Case of Peru," Politics and Governance, Cogitatio Press, vol. 5(4), pages 6-18.
  • Handle: RePEc:cog:poango:v:5:y:2017:i:4:p:6-18

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:cog:poango:v:5:y:2017:i:4:p:80-92 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Jackeline Velazco & Vicente Pinilla, 2017. "Development models, agricultural policies, and agricultural growth: Peru, 1950-2010," Documentos de Trabajo de la Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria 1704, Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria.
    3. repec:bla:intlab:v:155:y:2016:i:3:p:357-382 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Schuster, Monica & Maertens, Miet, 2015. "Worker Empowerment through Labor Standards. Evidence from the Peruvian Horticultural Export Sector," Working Papers 208142, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centre for Agricultural and Food Economics.
    5. repec:cog:poango:v:5:y:2017:i:4:p:1-5 is not listed on IDEAS
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    1. repec:cog:poango:v:5:y:2017:i:4:p:1-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:cog:poango:v:5:y:2017:i:4:p:19-29 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:spr:revint:v:13:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11558-018-9301-z is not listed on IDEAS


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