The United States has a different model vis-à-vis its trading partners to enforce its labour rules. While the settlement of disputes between the contracting parties to free trade agreements begins with consultation procedures similar to those of the EU model, complaints that cannot be resolved through consultations are subject to the same dispute resolution procedure as in the trade chapters of the trade agreement, although procedures and sanctions for non-compliance may be different. For example, the free trade agreement between the United States and the Dominican Republic-Central America (US-DR-CAFTA) sets a ceiling of 15 million euros. USD for compensation that can be imposed for non-transposition of the labour law, while in case of non-compliance with obligations arising from the agreement (for example. B Intellectual property), the penalty that can be imposed is unlimited.53 Despite such restrictions on available sanctions, this model is very different from the flexible advisory role of the EU procedure. Although there are some differences between the provisions of the various agreements due to the outcome of negotiations with the contracting parties, the TSD chapters are essential elements in all recent EU trade agreements. Any agreement can identify the same approach that uses labour standards, material labour standards, institutional structures and how complaints are handled. It is therefore possible to tell a well-known story in many other areas of international trade law. On a number of issues, ranging from stronger forms of intellectual property protection to better investor protection, developed countries have blocked their wto negotiating plans, but have managed to achieve much more success in the bilateral or preferential framework.
The dynamics of negotiating bilateral and regional agreements have fostered the achievement of toxic agendas within the multilateral framework. There is less attention for the media and civil society, and more powerful countries are better able to advance their agendas if less powerful countries cannot come together into large blocs, as is the case with the WTO.12 If we consider this lens, the history of trade and labour looks like a victory for developed countries over the interests of developing countries. Scientists in the 1990s predicted that this victory could lead to the unjustified exclusion of developing countries from developed country markets.13 Have these fears become a reality? As in the EU, labour provisions have played an important role in legitimising the whole of US trade policy and have become important conditions for trade agreements in order to obtain the necessary domestic political support54. the inclusion of labour rules in trade agreements to counter fears of foreign competition. They were considered important to show major U.S. electoral districts that the U.S. government maintains a “level playing field” for workers` rights between the United States and its trading partners.56 As explained in Section 5 below, the latter rationale has become dominant under the Trump administration. “The authors have produced an extraordinary book.
Their empirical contributions to the evaluation of labour standards in major EU trade agreements and their innovative methodological approach to a broader study of trade-fixing are a decisive contribution to the debate on global labour governance.