chapter  7
16 Pages

Human rights in trade: the EU’s experience with labour standards conditionality and its role in promoting labour standards in the WTO: Tamara Takács

This chapter explores the modalities through which the European Union (EU)1 has integrated human rights and specifically labour standard considerations in its external commercial relations. First, the emergence of the EU’s human rights conditionality in external trade and the policy tools that have been put in place to use commercial power to promote human rights, particularly internationally recognized labour standards, are discussed. These policy tools have received broad application in bilateral and regional preferential agreements, and in trade arrangements unilaterally applied by the EU. Next, the focus shifts to human rights considerations in global trade relations and will examine the position that the EU has taken in the debate about the inclusion of labour standards within the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) legal regime. Notice will be taken of the recent policy developments in the EU that address the challenges of globalization. The concluding remarks attempt to address whether the EU, based on its experience of human rights conditionality in trade, has contributed in a meaningful way to the promotion of labour standards in its own relations, and estimate the impact the EU has made at global level, particularly within the WTO.