In the years since the OECD’s 1996 study on Trade, Employment and Labor Standards, there has been an intensification of public concern over the controversial issue of trade and core labor standards. At the same time, a broad international political consensus has emerged with respect to definition and recognition of a small set of core labor standards. While a variety of mechanisms are being used to promote these standards, there remains a substantial gap between their recognition and their application.
This OECD study provides a current overview of key issues, aiming to provide a common basis for constructive policy dialogue among the concerned parties in the future. What are the major developments with respect to trade and labor standards since the 1996 study? What is being done to promote these standards? What evidence is there of progress? What are the possible links between core labor standards, trade, foreign direct investment, economic development and employment? This study offers a response to these and related questions.