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World Trade Organisation

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 10th July 2013.

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Photo of Stephen Phillips Stephen Phillips Conservative, Sleaford and North Hykeham

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of any respects in which World Trade Organisation rules hinder (a) prohibitions against and (b) other measures preventing child labour.

Photo of David Lidington David Lidington The Minister for Europe

None. The Government has no current plans to review the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreements which are based on the core principle of non-discrimination and are fit for purpose in terms of regulating international trade. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is the correct forum to deal with labour standards and regularly collaborates with the WTO.

Incentives to tackle child labour are built into the trade agreements the UK is part of through sustainable development clauses, and in the conditions attached to the trade preferences we provide to developing countries. As an incentive, additional trade preferences are provided to countries which sign up to and effectively implement good governance and human rights conventions. However, adopting trade restrictions in the case of a developing country could have the potential to hurt some of the poorest people in the country and set back development.

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