The most recent developments of international politics challenged the role of ILO within the international regulation. The effectiveness of the international legal system itself, as an instrument to pursue a more equal environment for trade and a more intense protection of workers, has been criticized also from a scientific point of view. On this basis, both economic and legal scholars sustain a return to protectionist approaches by single states and regional organizations. Starting from an overview of the most recent results of economic debate and of the most recent development of international practices, this essay maintains that ILO can still perform a critical role in the protection of workers rights on an international scale. Besides, it seek to demonstrate that the development of the "global legal system" can still provide the necessary framework in order enhance the contribution of ILO to create a link between trade and non-trade interests and to grant the effectiveness of labour standard in the global scenario.