Labor Enforcement Will Get Tougher on Trade Agreements

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Date of publication: July 16, 2009

Source: Business Week

Author: Steve LeVine

The United States will preemptively investigate possible labor law violations in 14 countries with which it has signed bilateral trade agreements in the last eight years, said United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a July 16 speech to Pittsburgh steelworkers. The Obama administration is changing prior practice, in which the U.S. has examined labor practices in the countries only when complaints have been made, he said.

”We will immediately identify and investigate labor violations before they can disadvantage American workers,” Kirk said in remarks distributed by his office. “Together, we will engage governments of countries that violate the rules, to restore workers’ rights quickly. If those governments can’t seem to fix their labor problems, we will help them find a way. And if they won’t fix their labor problems, we will exercise our legal options.” ...

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