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I. 'Core Labour Standards' and the Transformation of the International Labour Rights Regime

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Chapter Summary

A person's enthusiasm for the protection of labour rights through the EU's foreign and trade policy is tempered by two factors. First, he/she is aware that the protection of labour rights in external relations can quickly generate suspicions of protectionism, and, that where this is indeed the case such protectionism can be challenged as illegal in the context of the international trade regime, the suspicions of representatives of non-EU countries that initiatives aimed at linking trade to labour rights are fuelled by the desire to protect European businesses from competition must be taken seriously. Second, simply taking a 'rights-based approach' does not provide easy answers in the context of the EU's complex legal order, there is a very real risk that competing rights claims may arise at the national and at the international levels.

Keywords: European Union (EU); external trade; labour rights; protectionism



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