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Core Labour Standards and the WTO

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2023

Sean Turnell*
Economics Department, Macquarie University


The purpose of this paper is to suggest ways in which core labour standards can be incorporated into the WTO. Though regarded by some as simply a vehicle for protectionism, the campaign for core labour standards is based on sound economics that extends the logic of trade regulation to the international dimension of labour. Getting agreement on core labour standards and enforcing them will be a difficult task, but one best conducted through the WTO using a joint ILO/WTO enforcement mechanism. It is argued that such a task will bring much-needed legitimacy to the WTO, and increase the chances that it can deliver a world of prosperous, open and fair trade.

Research Article
Copyright © The Author(s) 2002

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