Trade and Labour

Gabrielle Marceau

in The Oxford Handbook of International Trade Law

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780199231928
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

Trade and Labour

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  • Employment and Labour Law



Trade liberalization and the improvement of labour and social conditions find expression and operate coherently and consistently with each other. The aim of this article is to explore the legal relationship between World Trade Organization (WTO) norms and labour norms and, in particular, whether and how labour considerations can be intertwined with the interpretation and application of WTO rights and obligations so that WTO Members, as States, can benefit from, and comply with, both trade and labour international regimes. This article looks at trade and labour issues from three perspectives. The first one is the extent to which some WTO multilateral trade disciplines provide policy space for labour concerns. Another one is the extent to which Members can agree to make regional arrangements that pursue labour objectives. The last perspective concerns unilateral trade preferential agreements, where compliance with labour standards is becoming a criterion for trade preferences.

Keywords: trade; labour; liberalization; multilateral trade; WTO norms

Article.  14481 words. 

Subjects: Law ; International Law ; Employment and Labour Law

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