GUATEMALA: US pushes for action on worker rights
US Trade Representative Michael Froman has met with government ministers and labour and business leaders in Guatemala to push for full implementation of labour provisions under the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA).
Froman last week met with President Otto Pérez Molina in Washington DC as part of USTR efforts to push for the enforcement of worker rights in the country. Froman has emphasised 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.
The US and Guatemala signed an 18-point Enforcement Plan on 26 April last year, outlining concrete actions to strengthen labour law enforcement in Guatemala, which the country committed to implement within six months.
Guatemala has since adopted a number of reforms to improve worker rights, but Froman believes work remains for Guatemala to fully implement its obligations under CAFTA.
"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," he said.
"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."
In March, the Office of the US Trade Representative warned it may reactivate an arbitration panel if Guatemala fails to improve enforcement of worker rights.
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