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Keywords:

  • free trade;
  • trade agreement;
  • international agreement;
  • decent work;
  • social implication;
  • GATT;
  • WTO;
  • ILO role

Abstract.

While the WTO and Doha Development Round do not deal with labour issues – they leave this to the ILO – the main countries that conclude free trade agreements incorporate labour provisions, which vary in terms of stringency. Sanctions are rarely used, and fears that “social clauses” would serve protectionist purposes have proved to be unfounded. Labour provisions are designed to meet a variety of sometimes conflicting goals, by means of different mechanisms aimed at improving labour practices and promoting Decent Work; the author makes a number of suggestions in this regard.