By Louise Willans Floyd

The connection between the United States’ twenty-first century President Obama and China’s ancient philosopher, Confucius, may not immediately be apparent. But the relevance of China to the West, especially to the United States, as well as the significance of a growing Chinese economy and political presence, is a topic of importance which will endure for decades.

One aspect of China’s emergent power is labor law. With its rockbottom wages, China “has become ‘the factory of the world” as companies from all over the globe clamor to make use of low production costs to increase corporate profits. But those low production costs come hand-in-glove with myriad problems for workers. In many cases, the conditions for Chinese laborers are poor at best. The ripple effect that has for workers, especially in manufacturing sectors in the United States and other countries like Japan and Australia, is a hotly debated topic.

It is against this background that the newly developing labor laws of China and the new international law measures aimed at Chinese labor standards (such as the attempts by assorted U.S. administrations to link labor conditions to trade agreements) have been put in to place. It is to these debates and developments that this Article contributes.

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Recommended Citation
Louise Willans Floyd, When Old Meets New: Some Perspectives on Recent Chinese Legal Developments and Their Relevance to the United States (The Importance of Labor Law), 64 SMU L. Rev. 1209 (2011)