Trade-based Integration and South Korea’s Automotive Labour Regime

Authors: Liam Campling*, Queen Mary University of London, James Harrison, School of Law, Warwick University, Ben Richardson, School of Politics and International Studies, Warwick University, Adrian Smith, School of Geography, Queen Mary University of London
Topics: Economic Geography
Keywords: Labour regimes, trade-based integration, South Korea, auto industry
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Hampton Room, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper makes the case that trade-based integration (e.g. liberalisation, standardisation, and juridical externalisation) needs to be brought into consideration of employment relations in global value chains and production networks. It traces the negotiation of automotive trade and the trade-labour linkage in the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and examines how the implementation of tariff liberalisation, non-tariff barriers and labour standards shape Korea’s automotive production network and labour regime. A labour regimes approach is deployed to explore the differential effects of this FTA for employment relations in different tiers of Korea’s automotive production network, arguing that the workers worst affected by the commercial dimensions of the Agreement are the very same workers who are least well represented in the labour standards dimension.

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