Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Book Launch “Trade Imbalance: The Struggle to Weight Human Rights Concerns in Trade Policymaking"

Featured Speakers: Jamie Zimmerman and Susan Aaronson (authors of book), Bernard Hoekman, John Ruggie, and Armand Pereira

Dr. Aaronson, professor at George Washington University, and Jamie Zimmerman, Senior Advisor to the Global Assets Project at the New America Foundation, led a discussion to promote their new book which focuses on trade policies and there relationship with human rights issues. Aaronson and Zimmerman’s target regions are Brazil, South Africa, United States and European Union. Their targets also include the World Trade Organization; which is now starting to take an interest in human rights concerns. Their goal was to shed light on an issue that is hardly talked about, provide case studies, and try to offer policymakers a more concise alternative to trade policies and human rights. Zimmerman and Aaronson point out that some nations use trade policies to promote human rights, and others use trade policies to undermine these issues. No one nation has the same interest in regard to human rights, but for trade policies nations want to encourage labor production. Interestingly, rich countries are more likely to focus on human rights issues abroad than locally

Some of their case studies show that the European Union uses bilateral trade agreements as an incentive to prod countries to adhere to internationally accepted human rights conventions. The United States on the other hand, uses bilateral trade agreements to urge trade partners to promote and protect labor rights. In Brazil, because some exported goods may include products made through child labor, business, government and civil society have devised collaborative non-trade strategies to reduce child labor. Finally, South Africa led the effort to prevent human rights abuses in zones where diamonds are produced, and at the same time also protect diamond key industry.

Conclusively, the authors recommend that countries need to implement more human rights issues with their trade policies.

Sponsor: World Bank

Location: World Bank J Building, 701 18th Street, Room JB1-080

Date: October 9, 2007

Time: 12:00-2:00

Approximate Number of Attendees: 35

Intern Attending: David Bravo

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