Publication Date

January 2008


The relationship between the labor market and international trade is a broad and complex subject that has been the focus of significant attention in recent years. Discussion and analysis in this area has covered a number of discrete issues, including the effect of shifting trade patterns on employment levels and earnings in domestic markets, the impact of wage levels and labor legislation on the location of production facilities, and the positive and negative aspects of the cross-border movement of workers, among others. The continuing importance of labor issues within the larger trade debate is highlighted by the inclusion of measures relating to labor standards and/or the cross-border movement of workers in recent bilateral and multilateral trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), and the U.S.–Oman Free Trade Agreement. This paper aims to provide background for future work on trade-related labor issues by describing how labor issues such as internationally recognized labor standards and the cross-border movement of workers have been addressed by international organizations, as well as in U.S. trade legislation and recent trade agreements.


Suggested Citation
Baumert, J., Johnson, K., Heuschel, D. & Lynch, B. (2008). International cooperation on trade and labor issues. Washington, DC: Author.