Who benefits from trade?

This publication reveals how trade and global value chains influence working conditions in Asia. It is based on research in the garment, footwear and electronics industries in four different countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Pakistan, and Vietnam.

The changing nature of international trade, dominated by global value chains, has led to downward pressure on working conditions. Fundamental rights at work, such as the right to organise and bargain collectively, are not upheld. Child labour exists in many supply chains, and minimum wages, when paid, are not sufficient to ensure decent living standards. Forced overtime and lack of safety measures are also common.

This publication wishes to draw attention to the imbalances in international trade and the asymmetric power relationship in global value chains, and to initiate a discussion on how to tackle these challenges. It is one of the outputs of the regional project Core Labour Standards Plus (CLS+), which was launched by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Asia in 2016.

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