[World History Archives]

The social democratic linkeage of a social clause with trade

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   World history of labor rights and labor standards

North/South union leaders review progress on social clause campaign
ICFTU OnLine. 25 November 1996. The ICFTU, which tends to reflect the social democracy of more developed nations, calls a meeting labor representatives to define a policy in preparation for the WTO's first ministerial conference in Singapore. ICFTU supports linking a social clause of basic labor rights to capitalist trade agreements.
"Happy" Friday the 13th -- the Day Bill "NAFTA-czar" Daley Was Announced Likely Commerce Secretary
From Lori Wallach, Global Trade Watch, 13 December 1996. At the Singapore WTO Ministerial Meeting the US capitulated on labor standards. The U.S. did not even get its initial request for a working group on the relationship between labor standards and trade on the table. The Clinton administration's WTO labor rights push was a ploy to get labor support for fast track to expand NAFTA and the WTO.
WTO: The battle over labour standards
By Martin Khor, Director of the Third World Network, 13 January 1997. WTO's first Ministerial Conference in Singapore exposed a growing rift: developing countries are against linking labor standards to the WTO because it gives rich countries unfair advantage over the South, allows them to dictate the South's domestic policies, and use trade penalties to ensure compliance.
Linking labour rights to world trade: Trade or workers' rights?
By Radha d'Souza, 4 November 1997. Labor has always had two faces. From its inception, capitalist enterprises have treated labour as a commodity to be bought and sold at the labour market. Workers on the other hand have sought to emphasis its human face - that it cannot be reduced to yet another statistical table that can be monitored through monetarist regimes. The Philadelphia Declaration, the founding document of the ILO, states labour is not a commodity.
Will a social clause in trade agreements advance international solidarity?
By David Bacon, 29 November 1999. The AFL-CIO agrees with Clinton that the WTO, which promotes international capitalism, should link a social clause with trade agreements. This social democratic theory that worker's rights trickle down from capitalism is challenged by militant labor's insistence that social needs are primary, and by labor in less developed countries which insists they should not be subject to the needs of the developed world.
E.U. to Delink Human Rights from Trade?
European Commission Denies Australian Press Report. ICEM Update..., no. 29/1997, 30 April 1997. The plan to link ILO's basic labor conventions with capitalist trade agreements may be loosing support, even in the developed world.