Chapter 1: An introduction to trade, labour and sustainable development
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This chapter introduces key issues, concepts and arguments. The chapter begins by outlining the current trade regime’s effects on labour. The historical context for the status quo is also outlined. The chapter then examines certain definitional questions relating to ‘development’, as well as issues of ‘power’ which inform debates concerning the connections between trade and labour. Against this backdrop, the potential promise of a sustainable development approach is examined, with reference to its evolution since 1972 and instantiation in the 2030 United Nations Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals. The principles that underlie a sustainable development discourse are identified, alongside potential dangers of adopting this approach. The chapter closes by positing the preconditions for realisation of sustainable trade-labour linkage, namely inclusive access to participation in key decision-making, which should include all sectors of work across the globe - enabling engagement with a wider ‘world of work’.

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