Comparative Case Analysis of the Impacts of Trade-Related Labor Provisions on Select US Trade Preference Recipient Countries
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[Excerpt] Labor rights advocates in the United States have been relatively successful in legally-mandating the link between labor rights and trade on a unilateral basis in U.S. law. A series of laws have been passed that explicitly condition certain trade benefits on compliance with labor rights. This paper examines the use of this linkage in a particular program, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), by civil society advocates in select cases in the early years of the country review program (1987 – 1993). The goal of the project is to examine past efforts by civil society actors to protect labor rights via trade linkage within GSP, and to analyze the relative effectiveness of various strategies connected to select cases. The paper seeks to examine civil society’s views of the utility of the petition process in promoting broader protections to labor rights. It describes strategic and tactical decisions by civil society actors involved in each specific case. The study does not intend to examine the sufficiency of the legislative language or implementing procedures within GSP. The central question for the study is what lessons civil society has learned about effective uses and limitations of this particular mechanism.
trade benefits; labor provisions; Generalized System of Preferences; GSP; labor rights