An Autopsy of the TPP Labour Chapter

Henry Hailong Jia, Mingwei Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – This article aims to recount the key legal obligations provided in The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Labour Chapter, particularly the most extraordinary development of labor obligations in trade treaties. Design/Methodology/Approach – This article adopts a descriptive approach, trying to capture the structure and contents of the TPP Labour Chapter. However, this article also resort to analytical methodology, clarifying the key concepts and languages used in the TPP Labour Chapter. Findings – Regarding substantive obligations, the basic structure of the TPP Labour Chapter has two layers (legislative and implementation obligations), following other trade treaties. But there are innovations. First, the United States made Side Agreements with three developing members, requiring them to have very specific plans to raise domestic labour standards and to implement and enforce them. Second, the TPP requires Parties to discourage international trade involving products produced by forced labour. Regarding dispute resolution and enforcement, the TPP Labour Chapter becomes more litigation and sanction oriented, and gives the United States unilateral power to make binding determinations. Research limitations/implications – the TPP Labour Chapter is not effective, so the practical value is not clear, but it may affect China in the future since the United States has shown interests of reviving the TPP. Originality/value – This article has not only systematically recounted the structure and contents of the TPP Labour Chapter, but also demonstrated the clear pattern of the development of labor obligations in trade treaties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-21
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Chinese Human Resource Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


  • Core labor standards
  • Labour
  • TPP
  • Trade
  • Working conditions


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