3. The WTO tramples over labor and human rights
The WTO has not refused to address this issue. At their first ministerial
meeting (Singapore, 1996), WTO members reaffirmed their commitment to core labour
developing-country members resist including labour standards in WTO rules because: (a)
they see it as a guise for protectionism in developed-country markets, a smokescreen for
undermining the comparative advantage of lower-wage developing countries; and (b) they
argue that better working conditions and improved labour rights arise through economic
growth sanctions imposed against countries with lower labour standards would merely
perpetuate poverty and delay improvements in workplace standards.
In addition, to
suggest that developed countries are handicapped because they enforce labour standards
ignores the fact that developed countries are highly successful in exporting they
have by far the largest share of export markets.
one has argued in the WTO that labour standards constitute a barrier to free
The WTO has never ruled on child labour because the issue has never come up for a ruling.
Countries efforts to deal with child labour problems have never been challenged in
The WTO made no such ruling over trade with Myanmar (Burma). The WTO agreements (GATT
Article 21) say countries have the right to follow UN decisions, which was the case when
sanctions were imposed against South Africa under apartheid.
Find out more on the WTO and labour
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