Guatemala City, Guatemala – As part of USTR’s efforts to ensure the full implementation of the labor provisions under the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman last week traveled to Guatemala to meet with government ministers and congressional, labor and business leaders after meeting with Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina in Washington, D.C. last week.
Ambassador Froman met with Guatemalan leaders to press their government to follow through on work that remains to effectively implement the Enforcement Plan signed by Guatemala last year and to effectively enforce Guatemalan labor laws. In his meetings, Ambassador Froman emphasized that respecting workers’ rights and the rule of law will help Guatemala attract the investment needed to create opportunity for the country’s growing workforce.
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 to improve worker rights in Guatemala, but work remains for Guatemala to fully implement its obligations under CAFTA.
Regarding his trip, Ambassador Froman made the following statement:
“We have been focused on addressing worker rights and rule of law issues in Guatemala for some time and are committed to fully enforcing the provisions in CAFTA.
“Recent developments further underscore the importance of this effort. As President Obama said last week, we need to work together to address the systematic factors driving the influx of young immigrants from Central American countries, including the lack of economic opportunity.
“Successfully resolving these issues will help position Guatemala as a leader in the region and send a positive signal to attract investment and create economic opportunities here in Guatemala.”
Thursday, July 31
Ambassador Froman had dinner with Aristedes Crespo, President of the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala.
Friday, August 1
Ambassador Froman met with Guatemalan Foreign Minister Fernando Carrera.
Ambassador Froman had breakfast with the following Opposition Bench Chiefs:
Orlando Blanco, UNE Party Bench Chief
Carlos Lopez, TODOS Party Bench Chief
Jose Gandara Torrebiarte, CREO Party Deputy Bench Chief
Roberto Villate Villatoro, LIDER Party Bench Chief
Amilcar Pop, WINAQ Party Bench Chief
Ambassador Froman met with Guatemalan Labor Minister Carlos Contreras and Economy Minister Sergio de la Torre at the Ministry of Labor.
Ambassador Froman met with the following representatives of the Coordinating Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial, and Financial Associations (CACIF) at the offices the Chamber of Industry:
Hermann Giron, President of CACIF
Roberto Ardon, Executive Director of CACIF
Jorge Britz, President of the Chamber of Commerce
Feranado Lopez, President of the Chamber of Industry
Ambassador Froman had lunch with the following Solidarity Center and Worker Representatives:
Stephen Wishart, Central American Field Representative
William Bolainez, Project Assistant
Walter Ignacio Rodriguez Gomez, Ternium/FESTRAS
Carlos Mancilla, Secretary General of CUSG
Victoriano Zacarias, Deputy Secretary General of CGTG
Ambassador Froman had coffee with International Labour Organization and United Nations Representative Sergio Paixio.