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Clyde Summers (2001), "The Battle in Seattle : Free Trade, Labor Rights, and Societal Values", University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Economic Law, vol. 22 ; 61

14 mars 2001

This article describes the ongoing internal battle in the WTO over the proposal to link trade agreements to the four core labor standards articulated by the International Labor Organization. Developing countries oppose the proposal because they argue it is a form of protectionism which compromises both national sovereignty and their comparative advantage derived from low labor costs. The author engages these objections and points out that the core standards themselves would do little to increase wages. Further, countries in the WTO compromise their national sovereignty routinely as it pertains to existing trade issues such as tax and fiscal policy and capital markets. The author concludes that the debate about the inclusion of core labor standards with the WTO centers on whether and to what extent comparative advantages, obtained by what many member countries consider human rights violations (e.g. child labor, forced labor), should be protected in and by the international market.

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