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United States Keeps In Place Labor Case Against Guatemala

WASHINGTON — April 25, 2014 — United States Trade Representative Michael Froman today announced that the dispute settlement process in the 2011 labor enforcement case brought under the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) will not be terminated and will remain suspended for an additional four months as the United States seeks further progress by Guatemala on its labor obligations under the CAFTA-DR.
Ambassador Froman recognized steps taken by Guatemala under the 2013 Enforcement Plan, but noted that the United States has not seen sufficient progress to close the case.
“Today’s action recognizes the progress made in Guatemala to adopt reforms to improve labor law enforcement, but also recognizes that significant work remains.” Ambassador Froman said.  “We will continue to work closely with the Guatemalan Government in these next four months to review the steps taken and assess whether the reforms are leading to concrete improvements in Guatemalan workers’ rights.”

On April 26, 2013, the United States and Guatemala signed an 18-point Enforcement Plan outlining concrete actions to strengthen labor law enforcement in Guatemala.  Guatemala still needs to pass legislation providing for an expedited process to sanction employers that violate labor laws and to implement a mechanism to ensure payments to workers in cases where enterprises have closed, among other steps that remain to be taken.  In addition, in the next four months, Guatemala will need to demonstrate that the legal reforms it has undertaken and still needs to undertake are being effectively implemented and leading to positive changes on the ground.  The U.S. Government retains the right to reactivate the arbitral panel at any point during the next four months.

Posted April 29, 2014

Source: USTR