Tuesday, October 29, 2013

United States Continues to Press Guatemala on Enforcement of Worker Rights

United States Trade Representative Michael Froman today expressed serious concerns about the enforcement of Guatemala's laws protecting worker rights, saying that significant work remains to ensure that an Enforcement Plan signed by the Guatemalan government earlier this year is effectively implemented. Ambassador Froman recognized important steps taken by Guatemala under the plan, but communicated to Guatemalan officials today that the United States expects solid progress in fully implementing the commitments over the next six months. If Guatemala fails to comply with the provisions of the Enforcement Plan, the U.S. Government retains the right to reactivate an arbitration panel established in the 2011 labor enforcement case brought under the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement ("DR-CAFTA").

On April 26, 2013, the United States and Guatemala signed the 18-point Enforcement Plan outlining concrete actions to strengthen labor law enforcement in Guatemala, which Guatemala committed to implement within six months. Guatemala has adopted a number of reforms, consistent with applicable deadlines, but implementation of those reforms is key to improving worker rights in Guatemala. While the arbitration panel will not be reconvened at this time, Ambassador Froman stressed that much work remains to be done to ensure effective implementation.

More information is available on the USTR website HERE.

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