Publication Date



[Excerpt] This paper reviews labor rights in the trade arrangements of four regional and binational settings in the Americas:

• the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) among Canada, Mexico and the United States;

• the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) among Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay;

• the Canada-Chile Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA); and

• the Caribbean Community (Caricom) embracing several island nations in a common market.

The labor rights agreements, charters and declarations examined here are at different levels of development and experience. They are "works in progress," just beginning to experiment with the central challenge of ensuring that no country gains competitive advantage in an integrated market by violating workers' fundamental rights. Each labor rights system studied here takes a different approach to this challenge. Sometimes the differences are slight, as with the labor agreements under NAFTA and the CCFTA; sometimes the differences are dramatic, as between social dimensions in NAFTA and Mercosur.


Suggested Citation
Compa, L. (2003). Works in progress: Constructing the social dimension of trade in the Americas [Electronic version]. In The social dimension of economic integration (pp. 27-55). Washington, DC: United States Bureau of International Labor Affairs.