Labour Provisions in Trade Agreements: design, implementation and stakeholder involvement

This seminar presents the final report of a comprehensive ILO Research Department project that assesses the impact of labour provisions on labour market outcomes.

Final seminar on 6 December 2016 - 09.00 to 13.00

Online registration 

There has been a fivefold increase in the number of bilateral and pluri-lateral trade agreements in the past two decades. These agreements increasingly include labour provisions: today, there are 77 trade agreements that include labour provisions, covering 136 economies. Nearly half of these trade agreements with labour provisions came into existence since 2008. This indicates that labour provisions are becoming a common tool for promoting labour standards in trade agreements. However, this expansion has raised questions about their implementation and the stakeholder involvement.

This colloquium will explore these questions based on the findings of the project reports. The first report, Assessment of Labour Provisions in Trade and Investment Arrangements, provides a technical analysis of the design, implementation and outcomes of labour provisions, based on an analysis of institutional changes in national laws and labour institutions, as well as changes in socio-economic conditions. It provides an analysis of whether and how labour provisions strengthen the framework conditions for decent work under which firms and workers operate. The second report, Handbook of Labour Provisions in Trade Agreements, complements the previous report by providing practical information in a more user-friendly format geared towards non-technical audiences. It also situates the report in the broader trade and labour debate, provides practical country case studies, and examines particular issues related to global supply chains, gender and overall labour governance.

Follow the conference via webstream.


Registration is mandatory. Please register online before 28 November.


08.15-09.00 Registration

09.00-09.45 Opening and introduction
  • Ms Maria Åsenius, Head of Cabinet to Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, DG Trade, European Commission (EC)
  • Mr Stephen Pursey, Advisor to the Deputy Director-General for Policy, International Labour Office (ILO)
  • Mr Michael Smyth, Vice-President, European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
09.45-10.45 Presentation of report
Moderator: Ms Lisa Tortell, Senior expert, ILO
  • Mr Moazam Mahmood and Marva Corley-Coulibaly, Research Department, ILO
  • Mr Jan Van Hove, Professor, Leuven University
  • Mr Adrian Smith, Professor, Queen Mary University of London
  • Mr Jan Orbie, Professor, Ghent University
10.45-11.00 Coffee break

11.00-12.45 Roundtable discussion
Moderator: Ms Claire Courteille, Director, ILO Office for the European Union and the Benelux countries
  • Mr Bernd Lange, Chair, International Trade Committee (INTA), European Parliament (EP)
  • Mr Michel Servoz, Director-General, Employment and Social Legislation, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, EC
  • Ms Sandra Gallina, Director, Directorate Sustainable Development; Economic Partnership Agreements, African, Caribbean and Pacific; Agri–food and Fisheries, EC
  • Mr Tom Jenkins, Special Advisor, European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
  • Ms Luisa Santos, Director International Relations, BusinessEurope
  • Mr Dumitru Fornea, EESC Member, Chair of the EU DAG for the EU-Moldova DCFTA

12.45-13.00 Closing
Ms Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission (EC)