Do Social Clauses in Generalized Systems of Preferences Advance the Cause of Women?
While in the era of globalization, millions of women got paid employment in labour-intensive industries in developing countries, they still face precarious working conditions. Women rights violations persist. In recent years, there has been an increasing number of social clauses in trade regimes to address poor working conditions in developing countries. Generalized Systems of Preferences (GSPs) are the prominent among unilateral mechanisms. This paper analyzes the social clauses contained in the EU and US GSPs with a view to the question whether they are adequate means of tackling poor working conditions and advancing the cause of women. The analysis of the EU GSP social clause is complemented by a case study highlighting the impact of the EU GSP social clause on labour and women rights in Sri Lanka. The evaluation of the GSP social clauses is followed by an analysis of their WTO compatibility. The study concludes by suggesting a multilateral framework de lege ferenda for GSP social clauses.[NCCR WP No 2008/04]
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