Trade and Labor Standards

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The purpose of our paper is to explore the different views of the issues of international labor standards and to explore the available options for addressing these issues. We conclude that: (1) there is no convincing case on theoretical or empirical grounds for incorporating labor standards into the WTO and into U.S. trade agreements; (2) the surest way to improve labor standards is for the United States and other industrialized countries to maintain open markets and to encourage the economic growth of their developing country trading partners; and (3) steps should be taken to support the activities of the International Labour Organization (ILO) to provide inducements and technical assistance to help developing countries raise their labor standards.

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