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International Trade, Fairness, and Labour Migration

Sylvie Loriaux and Alexia Herwig

Abstract

This paper aims to show that fairness in trade calls for relaxing existing WTO rules to include a greater liberalisation of labour migration. After having addressed several objections to global egalitarianism, it will argue, first, that the world’s rich and the world’s poor participate in a same multilateral trading system whose point is primarily to reduce trade barriers, and hence to establish global economic competitions, in order to raise their standards of living; second, that these competitions are subject to requirements of formal and substantive fairness; and, third, that the substantive fairness of the competitions that are taking place in the field of trade in goods is likely to require a greater liberalisation of labour migration, especially low-skilled labour from developing countries.

Funding statement: Research funding: University of Antwerp (BOF grant no. 25385) Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (Grant/Award Number: 452-08-007).

Correction Statement

Correction added after issue publication on mopp-2014-0004: The DOI of this article has been corrected to: 10.1515/mopp-2014-0004.

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their detailed and helpful comments on various drafts of this manuscript. We would also like to thank the participants in the Global Ethics Conference (Bristol 2010), the Disputationes Triangulae Seminar (Louvain-Ia-Neuve 2010), the ProDoc Colloquium (Fribourg 2013), and the Midi de science politique (Quebec 2013). We are especially grateful to Samantha Besson, Axel Gosseries, Eszter Kollar, Nicolas Levrat, Darrel Moellendorf, George Pavlakos, Johan Rochel, Andrea Sangiovanni, and Andreas Ziegler.

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Published Online: 2014-11-1
Published in Print: 2014-10-1

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