Chapter 24: Can blockchain solve the puzzle of labour standards implementation in international trade?
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In this chapter, we discuss how blockchain technology can be used to monitor and implement labour rights in international trade. While research highlights the link between labour standards and trade, clear guidance on how to design, monitor and enforce such frameworks in trade agreements is lacking. Commitments undertaken through trade agreements primarily focus on countries adhering to basic workers' rights, rather than obligations regarding working conditions and pay and rest on crude checks and balances. The growing consumer demand for ethically sourced and produced goods requires increased traceability and transparency of labour rights. Currently information flows along the supply chain on labour rights are both scarce and opaque. We argue that blockchain has the potential to limit unethical or fraudulent actors in that technology can revolutionise monitoring and compliance on labour issues under trade agreements. The transition from current form to blockchain enabled monitoring would, however require increased engagement and concerted efforts by both private and public stakeholders.

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