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Trade :

The Undervalued Driver of Regional Integration in Latin America
Publisher: 
GIGA
City: 
Hamburg
Volume, number, page: 
n.5 , pp.1-10.
Abstract: 
Many regional organisations in Latin America are currently in crisis. Trade agreements, however, have made progress in the region. Today, 80 per cent of intra-regional trade is already under preferences. In March 2017 several international financial organisations – the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) – each independently proposed the creation of a Latin American and Caribbean free trade area

Social Standards in Bilateral and Regional Trade and Investment Agreements

Instruments, Enforcement, and Policy Options for Trade Unions
Publisher: 
FES
City: 
Geneva
Volume, number, page: 
n.16, pp.
Category: 
Abstract: 
Despite efforts of the ILO, no viable multilateral labor rights regime has been established. At the same time, an increasingly global economy requires such regimes in order to prevent ruinous competition between countries competing in similar product markets on the basis of a similar set of production factors. Particularly if cheap labor is one of these factors, systematic violations of labor rights may be used as source of competitive advantages, even if such advantages are marginal. So-called ‘core labor rights’ can enable domestic actors to fight for improved standards.
Unilateral labor rights provisions do exist in the Generalized System of Preferences of the United States and the European Union, and have been applied with some success. However, attempts of the international labor movement to establish more enforceable multilateral labor rights provisions at the WTO have failed so far. Civil society actors have therefore stepped up their efforts to push individual transnational
enterprises to adopt so-called voluntary codes of conduct, with mixed (and limited) success.
A more recent strategy is the inclusion of labor rights provisions in bilateral or regional trade and investment agreements. With the multilateral trade process stalling, the governments of developed countries are moving toward bilateral and regional negotiations, where they have more bargaining power. Also, the value of unilateral trade preference schemes has decreased due to multilateral liberalization. Labor rights provisions in bilateral or regional agreements may thus be seen as a promis-ing strategy for improving compliance regarding core labor rights.
Specific labor rights provisions have been included in several agreements negotiated by the U.S., and more general provisions are to be found in agreements of the EU. Most U.S. provisions are effectively limited to the commitment of parties to enforce domestic labor law. However, there are notable exceptions in the agreements with Cambodia and Jordan, which could serve as examples for future labor rights provisions. In EU bilateral agreements, the focus is clearly on general human rights, development issues, technical cooperation and political dialogue, rather than on specific and enforceable labor rights provisions.
In addition to the problematic subordination of labor rights decisions to foreign policy objectives, there are two main problems for even the strongest labor rights provisions: First, their effective enforcement relies on strong local actors; yet it is the absence or weakness of such actors that makes external pressure necessary in the first place. Second, labor relations are among the most political domestic institutions, and resistance to external pressure can be expected not just in cases of systematic violations of core labor rights.

Human rights provisions in Economic Partnership Agreements in light of the expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020

City: 
Brussels
Volume, number, page: 
45 p.
Category: 
Abstract: 
The study considers the options for suspending obligations under the EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) in connection with violations of human rights, democratic principles or the rule of law following the expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020. It outlines the functioning of the human rights clause in the Cotonou Agreement, before considering the possibilities for suspending the EPAs under their own provisions, or for other reasons in international law, such as countermeasures. Next, it discusses how any post-2020 arrangements can best continue the existing mechanisms for human rights conditionality set out in the Cotonou Agreement. In connection with this, this study proposes certain suggestions for improving future versions of human rights clauses, and considers whether there are legal obstacles to the invocation of this clause under general international law, principally under WTO law. The study concludes with a set of
comments and recommendations.

Agricultural Trade Liberalization

Policies and Implications for Latin America
Agricultural Trade Liberalization
Publisher: 
IDB
City: 
Washington D.C.
Volume, number, page: 
374 p.
Category: 
Abstract: 
This book investigates key issues in regard to liberalization of agricultural trade in the Western Hemisphere, including potential scenarios for liberalization at the regional and multilateral levels, the effects of U.S. and European Union agricultural policies on trade, and how a Free Trade Area of the Americas and a European Union-MERCOSUR trade agreement might affect agricultural trade flows. It also examines agricultural liberalization in the U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement and suggests a food security typology for use by the World Trade Organization.

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