U.S. Labor Complaint Against Guatemala Is First With a Trade-Pact Partner

The U.S. will file a complaint against Guatemala over its lack of labor protections using provisions in a regional free-trade agreement, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said.

It’s the first time the U.S. is invoking a trade accord to challenge another country’s labor practices, and follows a rise in violence against union organizers in the Central American nation, Kirk said today in a speech in Pennsylvania.

“With this case, we are sending a strong message that our trading partners must protect their own workers, that the Obama administration will not tolerate labor violations that place U.S. workers at a disadvantage,” Kirk said.

Guatemala was part of the U.S.-Central American Free Trade Agreement approved by Congress in 2005. U.S. trade with Guatemala was $7 billion last year, up from $6 billion in 2005, before the agreement was implemented, according to Commerce Department data.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Drajem in Washington at mdrajem@bloomberg.net

Bloomberg reserves the right to edit or remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.