In a Sept. 19 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 labor violations overseas. Without such enforcement, the lawmakers said, U.S. workers “are forced to compete against imports made with slave and child labor or otherwise produced by workers facing deplorable conditions overseas.”
- end cuts to labor 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
- utilize congressionally-authorized enforcement funding for prosecutions of labor violations, none of which have been initiated under this administration
- seek ambitious, fully enforceable labor rights commitments from Mexico in the ongoing 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 labor obligations; e.g., by completing assessments of progress in addressing identified problems in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Peru, and Honduras
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