GLOBE Webinar: James Harrison and Adrian Smith - Free Trade Agreements and Global Labour Governance
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James Harrison (University of Warwick) and Adrian Smith (Queen Mary University of London) join the GLOBE Webinar Series to discuss their new book (co-authored with Liam Campling, Ben Richardson, Mirela Barbu): "Free Trade Agreements and Global Labour Governance: The European Union’s Trade-Labour Linkage in a Value Chain World" (Routledge 2020). A discussion and a Q&A with the audience will follow their presentation.
The GLOBE Webinar Series – The Future of Global Governance – presents the latest and most cutting-edge research in global governance and gives audience members the opportunity to directly engage with leading scholars in the field. Each webinar focuses on a significant new book that has potential to shape future thought on global governance, featuring a presentation by the author, an intervention from an expert discussant, and a Q&A session with the audience.
About the book: Exploring the contentious relationship between trade and labour, this book looks at the impact of the EU’s ‘new generation’ free trade agreements on workers. Drawing upon extensive original research, including over 200 interviews with key actors across the EU and its trading partners, it considers the effectiveness of the trade-labour linkage in an era of global value chains. The EU believes trade can work for all, claiming that labour provisions in its free trade agreements ensure that economic growth and high labour standards go hand-in-hand. Yet whether these actually make a difference to workers is strongly contested. This book explains why labour provisions have been profoundly limited in the EU’s agreements with the CARIFORUM group, South Korea and Moldova. It also shows how the provisions were mismatched with the most pressing workplace concerns in the key export industries of sugar, automobiles and clothing, and how these concerns were exacerbated by the agreements’ commercial provisions. This pioneering approach to studying the trade-labour linkage provides insights into key debates on the role of civil society in trade governance, the relationship between public and private labour regulation, and the progressive possibilities for trade policy in the twenty-first century.
About the author: Adrian Smith is Deputy Vice-Principal (Research Excellence), Dean for Research in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor of Human Geography at the Queen Mary University of London. James Harrison is a Professor in the School of Law at the University of Warwick. He is Co-Director of the Centre for Human Rights in Practice.
Moderator: Kari Otteburn (KU Leuven)