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Andrew T. Guzman (2003), “Trade, Labor, Legitimacy", California Law Review. 91 no3 (May).

13 October 2003

This article argues that the contours of the uneasy relationship between trade and labor should be determined through a political process of negotiation rather than the quasi-judicial dispute resolution process of the WTO. Part I discusses the ambiguous legal framework governing trade and labor and the lack of a normative consensus regarding the design of an appropriate framework. Part II argues that the WTO as currently constituted is ill-suited to resolve the trade and labor issue because the institutional structure of the organization will cause undue weight to be given to trade interests at the expense of labor interests. Part III suggests reforms, the key to which is the creation of independent trade and labor departments within the WTO, that would make the WTO a sensible forum for addressing the issue. The author urges his proposal as an imperfect but necessary means of producing a negotiated, consensual agreement with an organization that, if properly reformed to include both labor and trade specialists,will not be unduly biased.

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