Effects of trade on employment

Workshop on Linking Labor Standards and Export Policies

The second-leg of the series of tripartite workshops to look into the links between the country’s export priorities and its employment effects was held on 04-05 October 2018. Gathering the tripartite stakeholders actively involved in the implementation of the EU-funded ILO-STRENGTHEN project, the workshop was opened by Executive Director Senen Perlada of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Export Marketing Bureau (EMB). In his welcoming remarks, Executive Director Perlada emphasized the importance of increasing the number of decent jobs through higher exportations in terms of volume. He also stated that the change in exports has a significant impact on gross domestic product (GDP) and consequently on job opportunities.

As a follow-through to the first workshop on the links between exports and employment, the second workshop provided the participants the venue to discuss the links between trade and international labour standards which are in the form of ILO conventions linked to national laws such as those on wages, hours of work, rest periods, and leaves. Participants also learned how labour provisions are found in trade agreements either as a condition which must be complied with or as a promotional provision which do not provide for sanctions but instead sets the frameworks for cooperation between or among countries involved in trade agreements.

Given these inputs during the workshop, discussions also focused on the capacity levels of various government agencies in including labour clauses in current trade negotiations and trade plans such as the PEDP. During smaller workshop discussions, participants looked into the different priority sectors under the PEDP such as food processing, tourism, information and communication and technology and electronics and tried to determine the performance of these sectors relative to compliance with labour standards. Participants’ views on the implications of the export strategy on labour standards and social clauses in the export sector were also generated during the activity.