42 Years of Impactful Scholarship

Volume 42, Issue 5

Countervailing Social Dumping — Regulating Ill Gotten Economic Gains

The nexus of domestic labor conditions, international labor conditions, and free trade is likely to inform much of the debate over the 2020 US Presidential election on international relations and the economy and this Note contributes to that debate with the contention that:

a) Malaysia, a major trade partner of the United States, is illegally providing regulatory subsidies to its export industry with pro-business policies that strip away the rights of migrant workers to attract foreign companies with a “continuous . . . stream of labor” and “harmonious industrial relations[.]”

b) The negative economic impact of Malaysia’s migrant labor policy on US manufacturing laborers makes Malaysian exports into the US subject to sanction under Title Nineteen, Section 1671 of the United States Code—the countervailing duty (“CVD”) statute.

This Note proceed as follows. Part II gives a brief overview of the CVD statute, describes the process by which the CVD statute is applied to imports deemed to have benefited from a trade subsidy, and frames the problem of Malaysia’s migrant labor policy as an issue that could be addressed by countervailing duty law. Part III assesses whether countervailing duty law is a viable solution to the problem by analyzing the recognized application of the CVD statute to subsidies. Part IV addresses potential policy concerns implicated in using trade law to bridge gaps created by a lack of international labor market regulation. Part V concludes that even though the use of trade law is an imperfect solution, the ends of providing a needed disincentive to worker exploitation justifies the means because of the lack of other viable alternatives.

Download the Article

Recommended Citation:

Ruarri Rogan, Countervailing Social Dumping—Regulating Ill Gotten Economic Gains, 42 Fordham Int'l L.J. 1583 (2019). 
Available at: https://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ilj/vol42/iss5/9