May 26, 2022

Joint Statement released by Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA) and Focus on Global
South at the World Economic Forum, 2022

Protecting workers’ rights in garment global supply chains as an
important strategy for economic development in the global South
Guaranteed and protected living wages for Asian garment workers, implementing product pricing
models that account for the payment of living wages, moving towards progressive taxation codes,
and holding brands legally liable for labor rights violations are critical for re-engineering garment
global supply chains.
Global supply chains (GSCs) – that account for nearly 70% of global trade1 – have been shaped
and leveraged by transnational corporations (TNCs) that seek to maximize profits while forcing a
downward pressure on wages and raw material costs. Under a neoliberal trade regime,
developing economies pursue an export-oriented industrialisation model that involves
incorporation into global supply chains that are mostly dictated by the requirements of TNCs.
TNCs take advantage of the lack of global regulation of supply chains and dispute settlement
mechanisms, tax holidays and deduction schemes, that minimize the legal liability for conducting
business. This enables them to make exemplary profits at the expense of the lives and livelihoods
of millions of workers. Workers are penalised for accessing freedom of association as trade
unions are seen as a threat to the neoliberal model of development.
The global garment industry organized through complex garment GSCs is particularly notorious
for the mistreatment and underpayment of its workers, even as fashion brands reap extraordinary
1

https://www.oecd.org/trade/topics/global-value-chains-and-trade/

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