July 30,2010

Baucus Comment on USTR’s Launching of CAFTA Case on Guatemalan Labor Conditions


To:  Reporters and Editors
From:  Scott Mulhauser and Erin Shields for Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.)
Re:  Baucus Comment on USTR’s Launching of CAFTA Case on Guatemalan Labor Conditions

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) issued the following comment today welcoming U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk’s announcement that the United States will file a case against Guatemala under the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) for Guatemala’s inadequate enforcement of labor laws.   From Chairman Baucus:

“Today’s announcement is a big win for American workers.  This is the first time the United States has ever launched a labor rights case under a free trade agreement and it makes clear the Obama Administration’s commitment to trade enforcement and labor rights.  When other countries don’t enforce labor rights, it puts American workers’ ability to compete at risk.  Today’s announcement sends an important message to all of our trading partners – the United States will not hesitate to take strong action to ensure that American workers can compete on a level playing field.”

Kirk announced today that the United States is seeking formal consultations with Guatemala, the first step in launching a case under CAFTA, alleging that Guatemala has failed to enforce its laws on collective bargaining, freedom of association, and labor conditions.  If those consultations fail to yield a solution to the problem within 90 days, the United States could seek an arbitration panel to decide the case.  If Guatemala does not comply with the panel ruling, it could be subject to monetary penalties.