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- Yes, labor practices should be considered in the international trade. The reasons for this extend from basic human rights to sustaining competition between various players in an industry. Although some oppose internationally set labor standards by stating that it interferes with the sovereignty of a country, issues such as human rights are international issues and thus cannot be ignored. Besides, past evidence shows that country governments don’t deal effectively with grave issues such as child labor when left to deal with them. Also in this era of globalization, an action in one country can affect another adversely. Cheap labor means cheaper market prices which kill the spirit of competition.
- Some of the options include the establishment of international labor standards. The governments should also work closely with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC). These bodies come in handy in the establishment of national programs targeted towards the eradication of child labor. Consumers have the option of boycotting the products proven to be produced through inhumane means. This would, in turn, force the given industry to re-evaluate its whole production and practice humane processes. Businesses can also play a big role by certifying their products as being fairly produced as following the standards set by the ILO. The farmers who are fair-trade certified are then offered fair prices for their produce which encourages them.
- One of the aspects of the fair trade movement is the paying of higher prices for commodities to compensate exporting countries adequately so that they can practice humane producing practices. This means paying more for imports. As such, country-based trade theorists would be against such a practice as they believe in a focus on exports rather than imports. Fair-trade movement leans towards ethics and promotes equity in international trade. Many theorists would thus view this equity negatively, as gaining an advantage in international trade is considered essential (Barry & Reddy, 2008).
Barry, C., & Reddy, S. (2008). International trade and labor standards: a proposal for linkage. Columbia University Press.
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