ABSTRACT

The conclusion of free trade agreements is currently a phenomenon in considerable expansion and with significant potential. Many of them include a specific chapter relating to labour, for example the EU-South Korea FTA Chapter entitled ‘Trade and sustainable development’, the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) Chapter entitled ‘Labor’ or the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) Chapter entitled ‘Trade and Labour’. The contribution focuses on different approaches to labour standards in such chapters included in the US and the EU free trade agreements. The author researches the NAFTA, and some other US agreements like the US-Jordan agreement, which for the first time incorporated ILO standards. She also focuses her attention on the most recent USMCA and suggests that it can be perceived as a new model agreement and a symbol of a shift in perspective from long global supply chains to a focus on regional ones, local production, jobs, and a rise in wages. Moreover, this chapter contributes to the literature by offering insights on the commitments to labour standards in four generations of the EU international trade agreements. The author pays particular attention to the EU’s current (fourth) generation of trade agreements, e.g. the EU-South Korea FTA, the CETA, and the EU and Japan’s Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). For purposes of this chapter serious consideration has been given toward the limitations of labour provisions included in free trade agreements and toward the ways in which they may be strengthened to better promote ILO fundamental labour rights. Considering these agreements very useful in the process of mitigating the effects of the economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the author suggests ways of how to change them.