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 WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Health Care: Trump eases rules on insurance outside ObamaCare | HHS office on religious rights gets 300 complaints in a month | GOP chair eyes opioid bill vote by Memorial Day Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare Grassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees MORE (Ore.) and Sens. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinWashington puts Ethiopia's human rights abusers on notice Overnight Defense: Mattis vows Dreamers in military won't be deported | Pentagon unsure if military parade will be in Washington | Dem bill would block funds for parade Dems introduce bills to block funds for Trump's proposed parade MORE (Md.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownLawmaker interest in NAFTA intensifies amid Trump moves Dem senator shares photo praising LeBron James after Laura Ingraham attacks Trump gets recommendation for steep curbs on imported steel, risking trade war 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)."

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 B.G. 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."