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Guatemala Potentially Violating FTA with U.S. Has Six Months to Fix Labor Rights

Article Summary:

Only six months remain for Guatemala to resolve their questionable protection of labor rights. Otherwise, the Office of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) will open a process of arbitration to determine if Guatemala is in violation of the Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Central America and Dominican Republic.

Photo Credit: America Economia

Original Article Text From America Economia via Google Translate :

U.S. delivery Within Six Months to Guatemala to Avoid Arbitration

One semester left for Guatemala to resolve their dubious protection of labor rights. Otherwise, the Office of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR, in English) will open a process of arbitration.

The USTR requires that the Guatemalan government bonds and establish penalties for infringing maquila workers, among other specifications of reforms, given that it is violating the labor chapter of the Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Central America and Dominican Republic (DR -CAFTA).

The Ministry of Economy and USTR pledged in August to meet with an agenda to improve the protection of workers, but are 17 points remaining.

Luis Velasquez, Guatemalan Economy Minister, told the newspaper that morning the two points are sensitive to Guatemala because they are unconstitutional, granting the ability to punish the Labour Inspectorate and the payment of bonds for companies benefiting from the Law of Export and Maquila Activdad.

The official said without touching both aspects can be set additional controls to protect employees.

But the unconstitutionality of such measures is questionable. Luis Linares, former Minister of Labour, said that just about excuses not to make changes to those lines.

Velasquez and Sergio de la Torre, Minister of Economy of the next government, visited last week USTR officials, senators and congressmen to present the progress in the plan of compromise. That announced the hiring of 100 labor inspectors.

“We will not accept that we put on the blacklist and tell them to investors who have problems,” said the current Minister of Economy, before the deadline set by the USTR.

U.S. looks to convene an arbitration panel against Guatemala, due to allegations of rape and murder of union labor, presented by the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and six Guatemalan unions in April 2008.

Link to Original Article:

From America Economia

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