US: Manufacturing group questions Vietnam's TPP participation
The addition of Vietnam to the US government's list of countries using both child labour and forced labour in the production of garments has prompted a group of American manufacturers to question its participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks.
South Sudan, Suriname and Vietnam have all been added to the US Department of Labor's fourth annual list of countries where child labour and forced labour have been found in the production of garments. In total, 74 countries are on the list.
In response, the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition (AMTAC) has sent a letter to US Trade Representative Ron Kirk calling on the Obama Administration to reconsider whether Vietnam is a suitable partner for any TPP agreement.
The TPP pact is currently being negotiated by the US, Vietnam, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia and Peru, with Canada and Mexico poised to join the next round of negotiations in December.
Besides the labour report, AMTAC argues that a host of other factors demonstrate Vietnam has not yet made the reforms needed to be worthy of further consideration for TPP participation.
"Vietnam's intolerance of competing political parties, lack of press freedom, state-owned enterprise-dominated economy, lack of an independent judiciary, and pervasive human rights abuses are each and of themselves reasons why Vietnam's participation in the TPP should be questioned by the Obama Administration," it says.
Separately, a new report from the Congressional Research Service says Vietnam's involvement in the TPP free trade agreement has the potential to shift global trading patterns for textiles and demand for US textile exports.
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