Human Rights And Trade Agreements

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These statements come from different parties: human rights defenders who want to ensure that trade and trade-related rules do not compromise the enjoyment of human rights (the perspective of “coherence”), those who believe that trade sanctions are instruments to ensure compliance with minimum human rights standards (see “conditionality perspectives”). , free trade believers and developing countries who fear that human rights standards will be applied in a way that combats free trade and thereby endangers economic well-being. , and development advocates who see “human rights” as a useful slogan. A service is the result of human activity that is not a tangible good. Liberalisation means that foreign and domestic service providers can compete with service delivery. The extent of the liberalisation of trade in services by the WTO and other trade agreements is significant, ranging from accounting and advertising to telecommunications, tourism or transport. Liberalisation can – and has had – affected access to basic services and hence human rights in areas such as education, health care, job security or access to water. However, the rules for liberalizing trade in services can extend within the regulatory space of governments and thus undermine human rights, as the case of the United States-Gambling which we discuss below shows. The weakened role of the state in economic affairs, the idea of market superiority over the state are explicit elements of the agenda for a more open and market-oriented economy, aggressively promoted by international and regional trade and financial institutions.

However, the inclusion of these so-called “human rights” provisions has drawn opposition from both sides to the trade debate. Free trade advocates argue that these inclusions in a trade agreement are “legal inflation,” “governments use trade agreements to impose their values and standards, to globalize their social policy or regulatory approach.” Others believe that the introduction of human rights provisions in preferential trade agreements is simply a new form of disguised protectionism. Opponents of these free trade agreements also express caution in the inclusion of these provisions. They argue that these human rights and labour clauses are weak and serve only to deodorize lazy agreements, as they do not fundamentally change the logic of agreements. For example, a Philippine labour leader asked, “What is the point of a commitment to labour rights under an agreement that destroys jobs?” The World Trade Organization is often accused of causing economic injustice; there is no shortage of examples of unfair WTO rules and processes. But even among critics, there is considerable difference of opinion on whether the abolition of the WTO would be the solution to the problem. Some argue that the WTO is so flawed that it goes beyond reforms and should therefore be abolished. However, others stress the importance of a multilateral framework for international trade, since only a multilateral framework can help isolate small economies from strong economies. The Generalized Preferences Plus (GSP) system is essentially an attempt to advance the implementation of international human rights and labour treaty obligations by using an economic incentive – the opening up of the EU market to imports from developing countries. In 1986, the United Nations recognized the right to development as a fundamental human right.

He also reaffirmed and instructed States to take primary responsibility for creating national and international conditions conducive to the realization of the right to development. [6] 30. In www.3dthree.org you will find a list of trade-related issues dealt with by UN human rights bodies.

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