Global Governance of Labour Rights
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Global Governance of Labour Rights

Assessing the Effectiveness of Transnational Public and Private Policy Initiatives

Edited by Axel Marx, Jan Wouters, Glenn Rayp and Laura Beke

This insightful book incorporates perspectives from several disciplines to provide a unique systematic analysis of emerging public and private initiatives in global labour rights governance. The expert contributors explore the complexities of labour rights governance in a global economy characterized by transnational supply chains. They assess how transnational, intergovernmental and private initiatives aim to address the challenges of global labour rights protection before discussing the effectiveness of these initiatives and presenting new empirical findings. The book concludes with a detailed reflection on how to strengthen the global regime of labour rights governance.
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Chapter 5: Asian and US perspectives on labor rights under international trade agreements compared

Ronald C. Brown


Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) are evolving and growing in number, though commitments to labor protections under social dimension provisions (SD), while also growing, may tend to be static from a particular country’s perspective, whether it be a ‘US perspective’, an ‘EU perspective’, or an ‘Asian perspective’. And, there is a question of whether there is such a thing as an ‘Asian perspective’, or whether that is as elusive a concept as ‘Asian human rights?’ However, as will be argued in this chapter, there is one constant throughout the many different FTAs and BITs – the central role of the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s core labor standards. The ILO has categorized the approaches utilized by SD labor provisions as conditional or promotional, and researchers can seek to assess the degree of adherence by countries in meeting and maintaining those standards, not only in international trade and investment commitments, but more importantly as translated into domestic legislation that is meaningfully enforced. ‘Asia’, of course, is a big word and encompasses the many parts of Asia: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia, etc.

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