Irish trade is regulated in accordance with the common commercial policy rules of the European Union. The EU has a long standing commitment to the promotion of core labour standards and social development and the charter of fundamental rights of the EU confirms the aim to fully integrate these standards in all its policies and actions. Co-operation agreements between the EU and other countries, as a matter of course, include human rights and core labour standard clauses as set out in International Labour Organisation conventions. In addition, the EU uses its trade policy mechanisms to encourage other countries to improve standards by offering additional preferential access dependent on adherence to ILO conventions.
Within the World Trade Organisation also, the EU, with our support, has been pursuing improved international regulation in the area of trade and labour standards. Ireland has consistently supported the International Labour Organisation in its efforts to promote core labour standards. In 1998, we supported the adoption by the ILO of a declaration on fundamental principles and rights at work. This commits the ILO's 175 member states world-wide to respect the principles inherent in the core labour standards and to promote their universal application. Ireland has ratified all eight core labour standards, including those addressing the abolition of forced or compulsory labour and child labour.