Senate Dems urge Guatemala to comply with labor regulations

Three Senate Democrats on Wednesday called on U.S. trade officials to resume litigation if Guatemala fails to effectively enforce its labor laws.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron WydenRon WydenMnuchin: WH won't double-count economic growth Dem senator: White House stonewalling on important information Overnight Healthcare: CBO fallout | GOP senators distance themselves from House bill | Trump budget chief blasts score | Schumer says House bill belongs 'in the trash' MORE (Ore.) and Sens. Ben CardinBen CardinSenate panel could pass new Russia sanctions this summer Worries mount about vacancies in Trump's State Department Pence marks Armed Forces Day with vow to rebuild military MORE (Md.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownAuthor of Hillbilly Elegy encouraged to run for Senate: report Overnight Finance: Trump moves to begin NAFTA talks | Dems press Treasury chief on taxes, Dodd-Frank | Biz leaders want tax changes to be permanent Mnuchin mum as Dems press for answers on tax reform, Dodd-Frank MORE (Ohio) said they the United States is at a "critical crossroads" for Guatemala to move forward on its labor law compliance as required by the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR)."

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Guatemala needs to show that it has taken the steps outlined in the [labor] plan and that the reforms it is undertaking are making a difference for workers," the three senators said.

"If Guatemala misses the deadline, USTR [the U.S. Trade Representative] should move immediately to restart the litigation. Guatemala should receive no further extensions."

They argued that the Obama administration's decision to file the case in 2011 illustrated the seriousness of the situation in Guatemala.

"Time is running out," they said. "Guatemalan workers have waited far too long for positive change."

On Monday, the office of U.S. Trade Representative Michael FromanMichael FromanUS will investigate aluminum imports as national security hazard Overnight Finance: WH floats Mexican import tax | Exporters move to back GOP tax proposal | Dems rip Trump adviser's Goldman Sachs payout Froman heads to Council on Foreign Relations MORE announced that the United States has given Guatemala another four weeks to get its labor enforcement plan up to speed.  

“Effective implementation of the enforcement plan is critical if Guatemala is to demonstrate its capacity to make good on enforcement promises," the office said.

"Moreover, it is essential to give U.S. companies the confidence that they are doing business in a country that takes its labor rules seriously, and for Guatemala’s workers to be secure in knowing that the law will be followed."