Saturday, February 6, 2021

Panel of Experts releases significant report analyzing Freedom of Association obligations in EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement

The World Cup for International Labor Lawyers came early this year with the release of the Report of the Panel of Experts analyzing labor obligations under the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement in January. This report is the most significant legal development in the field of Trade and Labor Provisions since June 2017, when an Arbitral Panel released its report analyzing labor obligations under the CAFTA-DR in Guatemala

For the "Tik Tok" version of the Panel's report, see my piece in the
ABA's International Labor and Employment Law Committee Newsletter, Panel of Experts Issues Report on Labor Issues Raised under EU-Korea FTA

For a more in-depth discussion of the Panel's legal
analysis of the concept of Freedom of Assocation, see Tonia Novitz's excellent February 4 Oxford Human Rights Hub post, Asserting Jurisdiction to Assess Compliance with 'Multilateral labour standards and agreements' - The EU-Korea FTA Panel Decision.

And, for a thought-provoking analysis of the Report of the Panel of Experts in the EU-Korea case, check out Desiree LeClerqc's thoughtful post in the International Law and Economic Policy Blog, The Panel Report under the EU-Korea Trade Agreement Concerning Labor Practices: What are the Purposes of Trade Agreements as they Relate to the ILO's Fundamental Labor Rights? In this piece, LeClerqc takes on the issue of coherence in the interpretation and analysis of fundamental labor rights, the 1998 ILO Declaration, and ILO Conventions. 

Labor and Trade Lawyers are going to be discussing and comparing the EU-Korea and the CAFTA-DR Guatemala labor reports for years to come. At the heart of this debate is the fundamental role of workers in the global economy - rights and trade, who determines the substance and implementation of those rights ... a very interesting era to be working on these issues.

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