Labour Standards in Trade and Investment Arrangements

Labour issues are increasingly taken into consideration in bilateral and regional trade and investment policies. This trend emerges clearly in the multiplication of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) which include labour clauses as well as in the growing number of developing countries that are covered by these agreements. Although still far from mainstream investment policy and less developed than the trade counterpart, labour provisions are also increasingly included in International Investment Agreements (IIAs). Furthermore, both the EU and the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSPs) refer to international labour standards.
In cooperation with the Government of Canada (Employment and Social Development Canada - ESDC), the Government of Flanders (Flanders Department of Foreign Affairs) and the Swiss Confederation (Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs - SECO), the Research Department of the ILO is undertaking a research project on “Labour provisions in trade and investment arrangements”. While a previous report on the “Social Dimensions of Free Trade Agreements” published in November 2013 and funded by the Government of the French Republic (Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi, de la Formation professionnelle et du Dialogue social) focused on the design and effectiveness of labour provisions in free trade agreements, the current project builds on this framework to include the analysis of additional economic governance arrangements, additional thematic issues and broader country cases studies (concept note).
  1. Background papers
  1. Report

    The Social Dimensions of Free Trade Agreements

    The report provides a comprehensive review of all existing trade agreements that include social provisions and discusses impacts for enterprises and workers.It also helps assess the challenges for arising from the multiplication of trade agreements that include different social provisions.