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International Documents on Corporate Responsibility

Edited by Stephen Tully

International Documents on Corporate Responsibility includes the principal international, regional and national instruments drafted by intergovernmental organisations or states as well as codes of conduct formulated by industry associations, trade unions and non-governmental organisations. The coverage includes the fields of human rights, international criminal and environmental law, labour standards, international trade, armed conflict, sustainable development, corruption, consumer protection and corporate governance. Each document is accompanied by a brief explanatory commentary outlining the historical origins of the instrument, the principal actors involved, controversial negotiation issues, applicable implementation procedure, and identifies further reference material.
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Chapter 41: Global Exchange/International Labour Human Rights Fund: US Business Principles for Human Rights of Workers in China, 1999


41. Global Exchange/International Labour Rights Fund: US Business Principles for Human Rights of Workers in China, 1999 Commentary: Global Exchange is a human rights NGO. The Business Principles ( arose in response to a 1998 report by the National Labor Committee documenting links between leading US corporations and working conditions within China. They have since been endorsed inter alia by Amnesty International USA, the Consumers’ Federation of America and the Fair Trade Foundation. For academic commentary, see Orentlicher D. and Gelatt T. (1992), ‘Public law, private actors: the impact of human rights on business investors in China’, Northwestern Journal of International Law and Business, 14, 66–129. For an analogous initiative, see Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras, ‘The Maquiladora Standards of Conduct’, San Antonio, Texas, 1991 in (1992) The CJM Newsletter 1. For academic commentary, see Compa L. and HinchliffeDarricarrere T. (1995), ‘Enforcing international labor rights through corporate codes of conduct’, Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, 33, 663–716. As companies doing business in China, we seek to hear and respond to the concerns of workers making our products. We want to ensure that our business practices in China respect basic labour standards defined by the ILO, and basic human rights defined by the UN Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and Civil and Political Rights, signed by the Chinese government, as well as China’s national laws. To this end, we agree to implement and to promote the following principles in the People’s Republic of China: No goods...

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