The surge in world trade in recent years has failed to improve the working conditions and living standards for the majority of workers in poor countries, according to the findings of a new United Nations labor agency study released on Monday.
A high incidence of informal employment has curbed any benefit workers in the developing world have felt from the boom in trade, the joint International Labor Organization (ILO) and World Trade Organization (WTO) study found, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told a news briefing here on Monday.
"The study says that trade opening needs proper domestic policies to create good jobs," Montas said. "It adds that the high incidence of informal employment in the developing world suppresses countries' ability to benefit from trade opening by creating poverty traps for workers in job transition."
WTO Director-general Pascal Lamy noted that trade "has contributed to growth and development worldwide, but this has not automatically translated in an improvement in the quality of employment."
In the developing world, job creation has largely taken place in the informal economy, which ranges from 30 percent of the workforce in Latin America to more than 80 percent in some sub-Saharan and South Asian countries.
Informal employment involves private, unregistered enterprises which are not subject to national law or regulation, offer no social protection and involve self-employed individuals, or members of the same household.