Cornell University

Catherwood Library

Catherwood Library, Ives Hall, 607-255-5435
WTO Trade and Labor Issues

Created by Stuart Basefsky for a presentation at the Special Libraries Association (SLA) Conference in Seattle, Washington on June 16, 2008, 9 - 10:30am for a program entitled, "WTO, Seattle, & Global Trade/ Labor Issues" and a special segment on "Recommended Resources for International Trade and Related  Labor Issues Research."



BACKGROUND INFORMATION


Congressional Research Service (CRS)
Order Code 98-928
The World Trade Organization: Background and Issues
Updated May 9, 2007
Ian F. Fergusson, Specialist in International Trade and Finance, Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
http://www.nationalaglawcenter.org/assets/crs/98-928.pdf
[full-text, 15 pages]

[excerpt]
Policy Issues
...
4. Should the WTO cover traditional trade issues only, or should it be
broadened to include nontraditional issues such as labor and the environment?
The GATT agreement first established rules only on border measures (tariffs and quotas) and later added rules on certain internal practices that clearly had direct effects on trade in goods (e.g., subsidies, government procurement). The Uruguay Round agreements further expanded trade rules to cover new areas such as trade in services and intellectual property rights. U.S. businesses generally want the WTO to refrain from extending beyond these traditionally trade-related issues, because they argue that the greatest export opportunities will be achieved only if negotiators focus on trade barriers and do not include social factors.

Many groups, however, argue that the WTO should be expanded to include nontraditional topics. Two topics that have been at the center of current trade debate are labor and the environment. Labor groups argue that many countries exploit workers, including children, to produce low-cost products for foreign markets. Environmental groups want more consideration of the environmental effects of the production of goods for trade included under WTO rules. There is strong disagreement domestically on traditional and nontraditional topics in trade negotiations. Internationally, countries hold a wide range of positions on this question.

Baumert, J., Johnson, K., Heuschel, D. & Lynch, B. (2008).
International cooperation on trade and labor issues.
Washington, DC: United States International Trade Commission (USITC)
http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/key_workplace/483/

A joint study of the International Labour Office
and the Secretariat of the World Trade Organization
TRADE AND EMPLOYMENT: CHALLENGES FOR POLICY RESEARCH [2007]
http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---webdev/documents/publication/wcms_081742.pdf


SELECTED AUTHORITIES & RESOURCES

Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB)
  Labor-Related Reports for U.S. Free Trade Agreements
  http://www.dol.gov/ilab/media/reports/usfta/main.htm
  Office of Trade and Labor Affairs (OTLA)
  http://www.dol.gov/ILAB/programs/otla/index.htm 
  North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC)
  http://www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/nao/naalc.htm
  NAALC Cooperative Activities
  http://www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/coopact/main.htm

Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB)
  MONITORING INTERNATIONAL LABOR STANDARDS (MILS) DATABASE
  Search Page
  http://www.dol.gov/ilab/Webmils/countries/index.htm
  Explanation & Home Page
  WebMILS
  http://www.dol.gov/ilab/webmils/

Commission for Labor Cooperation
http://www.naalc.org

Congressional Research Service (CRS) via
  Open CRS
  http://www.opencrs.com
  or
  DigitalCommons@ILR [ILR School, Cornell University]
  Key Workplace Documents
  http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/keydocs/
    Some recent key examples--
    Overview of Labor Enforcement Issues in Free Trade Agreements[2/29 2008]
    The U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement: Effects After Three Years[1/7/2008]
    Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Workers: Current Issues and Legislation [2/20/2008]

Export.gov (U.S. Government Site under International Trade Administration)
  NAFTA
  Regional Database
  http://web.ita.doc.gov/ticwebsite/naftaweb.nsf
  Click on the arrow pointing to each country -- Canada, Mexico -- and NAFTA.
  This will expand each into numerous categories in which documentation can be found.

General Accountability Office (GAO)
GAO-08-59 International Trade: An Analysis of Free Trade Agreements and Congressional and Private Sector Consultations under Trade Promotion Authority [November 2007]
http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d0859.pdf

Human Resources Development Canada
http://www.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca

ILR School, Cornell University
Globalization & the Workplace
A portal to documentation on the effects of globalization on workers and working conditions, labor relations, and social movements.
Including--
    Social Conditions
    http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/globalPortal/SocialConditions/
    Economic and Social Justice
    http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/globalPortal/SocialJustice/
    International Labor Standards
    http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/globalPortal/laborStandards/
    Web Archive
    http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/globalPortal/archive/

International Labour Organization (ILO)
  Globalization
  http://www.ilo.org/global/Themes/Ecosocdev/Globalization/lang--en/index.htm

Mexican Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare
http://www.stps.gob.mx

Public Citizen
  Global Trade Watch
  http://www.citizen.org/trade/
  This site include numerous useful links, projects, programs and includes the
  Trade Adjustment Assistance Database
  http://www.citizen.org/trade/forms/taa_search.cfm?dataset=3

United States Trade Representative (USTR)
  Trade Agreements
 
http://ustr.gov/Trade_Agreements/Section_Index.html

  USTR Focus on Labor

http://ustr.gov/Trade_Sectors/Labor/Section_Index.html

World Trade Organization (WTO)
  The WTO and International Labour Organization
  http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/coher_e/wto_ilo_e.htm


ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF INTEREST

Federation of International Trade Associations (FITA)
http://fita.org/index.html


HISTORICAL CONTEXT (for Seattle)

Archives Document Library  for Washington
The World Trade Organization in Seattle
http://clerk.ci.seattle.wa.us/~public/doclibrary/wto/wto_home.html

WTO History Project [Seattle]
http://depts.washington.edu/wtohist/index.htm

WTO Seattle Collection
http://content.lib.washington.edu/wtoweb/