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Pressure Mounts on Trump Administration to Address Trade-Related Labour Violations

In a 19 September letter, the senior Democrat members of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees called on U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and other senior Trump administration officials to take the following actions within the next 30 days to address trade-related labour violations overseas. Without such enforcement, the lawmakers said, U.S. workers “are forced to compete against imports made with slave and child labour or otherwise produced by workers facing deplorable conditions overseas.”

  • end cuts to labour enforcement staff and resources at the departments of Labor and State, which are used to uphold the standards laid out in trade agreements and U.S. law
  • utilise congressionally-authorised enforcement funding for prosecutions of labour violations, none of which have been initiated under this administration
  • seek ambitious, fully enforceable labour rights commitments from Mexico in the on-going NAFTA renegotiation and secure detailed commitments on the specific steps Mexico will take to meet those higher standards
  • take decisive enforcement action against countries that fail to comply with labour obligations, such as by completing assessments of progress in addressing identified problems in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Peru and Honduras
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