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Focus on social standards

Müller meets Directors-General of the In­ter­national Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO)


German Development Minister Gerd Müller and Guy Ryder, the Director-General of the In­ter­national Labour Organization (ILO)

13.05.2014 |

Berlin – Federal Minister Gerd Müller will be talking about social standards with more than one high-ranking visitor today: first of all Müller will have a meeting with Guy Ryder, the Director-General of the In­ter­national Labour Organization (ILO). It is the first meeting between the two men. The discussion will focus on decent work and living wages, and on the topic of labour and social standards in supply chains.

German Development Minister Gerd Müller and Roberto Azevêdo, the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Copyright: Michael Gottschalk/photothek

The next meeting of the day, with Roberto Azevêdo, the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), will also focus above all on how to liberalise global trade in such a way that it effectively leads to better prospects for local people.

"The free market needs limits,” says Müller. "We cannot allow globalisation to benefit a few winners whilst causing huge numbers of losers, some of whom must even pay with their lives, as in the case of the Rana Plaza factory collapse one year ago in Bangladesh. The global liberalisation of trade must serve to offer people both here and there better prospects for the future, whether they work on plantations or in textile factories. That is why I am working to ensure that environmental and social standards become firmly enshrined in in­ter­national trade agreements. Such standards are now a central element of bilateral EU agreements. This is an area where the In­ter­national Labour Organization and the WTO can work together effectively. We cannot have a situ­a­tion where goods are being imported which have been produced under conditions that would land employers in court if they were based in this coun­try.”

Minister Müller and ILO Director-General Ryder will sign a joint declaration of intent that will form the cornerstone for a strategic partnership between the ILO and the BMZ. The focus of the partnership will be on labour and social standards in supply chains. In particular, the BMZ will support ILO activities that complement German bilateral projects in the field of labour and social standards in the Asian garment industry.

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