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Chapter Summary

This chapter begins by situating the core labour standards (CLS) concept within the context of the international labour regime and traces the origins of the 1998 Declaration from the end of the Cold War to its adoption. Consideration is then given to the centrality of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in the debate over trade and labour standards, given the preference of most governments to keep labour issues well away from the World Trade Organization. The chapter then examines the major problems of the CLS approach. Finally, it traces the influence of the 1998 Declaration on the labour rights provisions of an increasingly significant array of bilateral and regional agreements and of a plethora of voluntary codes of conduct, and argues that it facilitates a minimalist approach in most instances.

Keywords: core labour standards (CLS); International Labour Organization (ILO); World Trade Organization



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