Enhancing Labour Protection Through TPP Labour and Investment Chapters
States increasingly prefer to conclude comprehensive trade and investment rules in the same instrument under FTAs. How labour rights protection, an important non-economic matter, which can be effectively enforced across chapters might become an emerging challenge to FTAs. The TPP provides a new platform to look at labour matters from the perspective on labour, trade and investment linkages. Certain types of labour-linkage provisions are shifted away from the current bilateral investment treaties to the Labour Chapter, which may indicate a new focus on labour-trade-investment links. The Investment Chapter and investment arbitration in general might function as a complement to the Labour Chapter by enhancing the compliance of domestic labour laws of host states and foreign corporations. However, insofar as labour rights protection is concerned, it seems that the Investment Chapter does not go very far than those taken by other FTAs. Perhaps neither the Labour Chapter nor the Investment Chapter can address the genuine concerns of workers in Asia-Pacific region. From this perspective, one might not easily ascertain that the TPP has reached “the strongest protections for workers of any trade agreement in history” as the United States Trade Representative has stated.