The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The Agreement includes strong obligations around labour standards.

Raising labour standards

CPTPP's labour outcomes are the most comprehensive New Zealand has achieved in a free trade agreement. They are designed to help protect and enforce labour rights, improve working conditions and living standards, strengthen cooperation on labour issues, and enhance labour capability of CPTPP Parties.

They will help raise labour standards in the region and reduce the impact of unfair practices like forced and child labour. These obligations are consistent with New Zealand’s existing domestic legal settings and international legal commitments.

Reaffirm international commitments

Each Party has reaffirmed their obligations as members of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The Parties also agreed to adopt and maintain in their laws and practice the internationally recognised labour rights stated in the 1998 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, including freedom of association, the promotion of collective bargaining, non-discrimination in employment, and the elimination of forced labour and abolition of child labour.

Strengthening minimum conditions of work

CPTPP includes an obligation to adopt and maintain laws and practice governing ‘acceptable conditions of work’. This relates to minimum wages, hours of work, and occupational safety and health as determined by each Party.

Safeguarding labour protections

There is recognition by CPTPP Parties that labour standards should not be used for protectionist trade purposes, and that it is inappropriate to encourage trade or investment by weakening or reducing labour protections. Parties committed to not waive or derogate from laws that implement these protections in a manner affecting trade or investment between CPTPP Parties.

Effective enforcement of labour laws

CPTPP Parties have committed to esnuring Labour laws related to the fundamental rights, as well as ‘acceptable conditions of work’, must be effectively enforced. A failure to enforce these laws cannot be excused on the grounds of resource allocation.

Discouraging child labour

A commitment to discourage, through initiatives Parties consider appropriate, the importation of goods from other sources produced by forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory child labour.

Providing workers access to labour tribunals

A series of procedural guarantees in CPTPP will ensure that workers and employers have access to fair, equitable, and transparent labour tribunals for the enforcement of their labour rights.

Public Input

A Labour Council of senior governmental representatives will be established to discuss matters of common interest and consider cooperative activities under the chapter.

Stakeholders are able to make public submissions on issues covered by the chapter and, as appropriate, involved in cooperative activities. To make a submission to New Zealand’s contact point, you can follow these guidelines [PDF, 541 KB].

Resolving Issues

There are two mechanisms available for addressing issues between the Parties:

  • A Party may request a labour dialogue with another Party on any matter arising under the chapter. Outcomes may include the development and implementation of action plans or cooperative programmes, including capacity building to encourage or assist Parties to identify and address labour matters.
  • Otherwise, all obligations in the chapter are subject to dispute settlement. There are specific procedures for labour consultation that must be used before the dispute settlement provisions of CPTPP are employed.