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International Conference and virtual round tables on the theme “Humanizing Trade”

The Global Labour Governance (GLG) project, developed by Centre d’études sur l’intégration et la mondialisation (CEIM) and Institut d’études internationales de Montréal (IEIM) at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), has entered Phase 4. Thanks to funding provided by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, this phase will allow for a cycle of virtual roundtables (March 14–April 17, 2009) and an international conference entitled “Humanizing Trade II,” to be held April 27 and 28, 2009.

In 2008, “Humanizing Trade I” explored connections between international trade and the promotion of workers’ rights by comparing and analyzing bilateral trade agreements that integrated labor provisions.

According to the event website, “this year ‘Humanizing Trade II’ will discuss trajectories that can lead to a multilateral trade-labor governance scheme. In these turbulent times, it is most important that measures adopted to provide for national economic security are not detrimental to global welfare and well-being.

“Bringing together academics and representatives from governments, NGOs, trade unions, and the private sector, the 2009 virtual roundtables and ‘Humanizing Trade II’ will seek to bring responses to three sets of questions in various forums.

“Discontent is growing about the fact that globalization, growth, and productivity gains have not translated into higher employment levels, better wages, and improved working conditions, thereby enabling development. There is a link, not always positive, between trade and employment. Preventing unemployment and adhering to high labor standards are necessary conditions for harmonious trading relations and the proper functioning of the global economic system. The governance gap between mechanisms that favor economic globalization and those aiming to protect and improve workers’ rights and living conditions must be bridged. This is even more important in the context of the current economic crisis and rising protectionist threats.”

The virtual roundtables will address the themes “Towards a workable multilateral consensus at the World Trade Organization—is this possible?” “More efficient labor governance,” and “Toward greater policy coherence.”

For more information on registering for the conference or to take part in the virtual roundtables, please consult the conference website.