The EU-Korea Panel Peport: A Watershed Moment for the Trade-Labor Nexus or Mere Symbolic Victory?

Louis Koen, Davy Rammila


There have been increased calls to link international trade law more pertinently with labor and environmental standards in recent years. This has seen a rise in the number of regional trade agreements incorporating labor standards. However, states have long appeared to be reluctant to seek enforcement of the labor standards through trade agreements. The EU-Korea panel report, considered in this contribution, is the first trade panel to hold a state to have breached labor standards in a trade agreement. This contribution reflects on this important decision and what it means for the trade-labor nexus in the future. However, this contribution also acknowledges the lack of enforcement mechanisms and questions whether trade tribunals with limited enforcement powers will be any more successful than the ILO in promoting compliance with international labor standards.


trade, core labor standards, freedom of association

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