Justice Delayed: The Long Road of the Guatemala CAFTA Complaint

banana worker

Publication Date: 

January 12, 2015


Eric Gottwald and Sean Goldhammer, ILRF
In September 2014, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it will finally proceed to arbitration against the Government of Guatemala, more than six years after a complaint was filed alleging that Guatemala was violating the labor standards contained in the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). 
The announcement is welcome news for advocates of binding labor standards in international trade agreements and, more importantly, Guatemalan workers who continue to wait for their government to enforce even the most basic labor laws. It also marks the first time the U.S. government has proceeded to the arbitration phase for a complaint alleging violations of the labor chapter of a free trade agreement.  
This policy brief explores the efficacy of labor provisions in the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), focusing on the Guatemalean case as a not very encouraging case study.