Trade and Labour within the European Union Generalized System of Preferences

This paper analyses the relationship between the EU scheme of generalized system of preferences (GSP) and international trade law in the context of the GATT/WTO. We argue that the analysis of GSP schemes and the concerned Appellate Body (AB) case law demonstrate the possibility of an integration between trade liberalization and workers’ rights. We point out that unilateral economic measures can be implemented without coming into conflict with the non-discrimination principle, on the basis of the reasonableness principle. In this regard, the importance of a multilateral approach and of the role of international organizations – namely the ILO – is emphasized as a result of their function as standards-setting bodies and their monitoring activities.