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US trade representative visits Guatemala to promote worker rights
Published on August 6, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

WASHINGTON, USA -- As part of US efforts to ensure the full implementation of the labour provisions under the Dominican Republic–Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), US Trade Representative Michael Froman travelled to Guatemala to meet with government ministers and congressional, labour and business leaders after meeting with Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina earlier in Washington.

Froman pressed the government to follow through on the remaining work needed to implement the enforcement plan signed by Guatemala in 2013 and to enforce Guatemalan labour laws effectively. In his meetings, the USTR office said in an August 1 press release, 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.

“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,” Froman said.

The United States and Guatemala signed the 18-point enforcement plan on April 26, 2013. It outlines concrete actions to strengthen labour-law enforcement in Guatemala, and Guatemala committed to implement the actions 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-DR, the USTR office said.

“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,” Froman 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,” Froman said.

During his July 31–August 1 visit, Froman met with congressional President Aristides Crespo, Foreign Minister Fernando Carrera, opposition party chiefs, government ministers, business leaders, worker representatives and Sergio Paixao of the United Nations’ International Labour Organization.
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