Jimmy Howell


There is a great need for incorporating labor rights provisions into bilateral, multilateral, and regional trade agreements. However, it was only towards the end of the last century that governments experimented with different types of legal systems to address labor issues. As the debate on this matter moves forward, more attention must focus on the most effective and appropriate legal architectures for labor rights protection in the trade context. The USCBTA was the purest example of a regulatory model that governments have used to link trade and labor protection. The weaknesses in a purely regulatory model indicate that a different approach may have more success. While purely adjudicative models have their own drawbacks, the best approach may be a hybrid of the two. A regulatory-adjudicative model for labor rights enforcement may be the best way to improve living standards and working conditions world-wide. Given the shortcomings of the USCBTA, let us hope that this is not the best that we can do.