Office of Trade and Labor Affairs (OTLA)
National Advisory Committee for Labor Provisions of U.S. Free Trade Agreements
In conducting its work, the Bureau of International Labor Affairs seeks advice from outside experts. Forming the National Advisory Committee (NAC) for Labor Provisions of U. S. Free Trade Agreements is one way of channeling external advice from key stakeholders into ILAB free trade agreement policy. Advisory committees are a well-regulated way of soliciting public input that is consistent with the goals of U.S. Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).1 The NAC provides advice on how to better implement the labor provisions of any FTAs that the U.S. signs.
The NAC includes 12 members, including a chairperson, appointed by the Secretary of Labor. To ensure a fairly-balanced, diverse, and widely-credible committee, four representatives were selected from the public sector, four from the labor community, and four from the business community. Members are asked to serve for a period of two years. On March 28, 2011, Secretary Hilda L. Solis appointed the following 12 members to serve for two years:
- Lance Compa | Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations
- Kimberly Ann Elliott | Center for Global Development
- Kevin Kolben | Rutgers University Business School
- Raymond Robertson | Macalester College Department of Economics
- Benjamin N. Davis | United Steel Workers (USW)
- Cindy Estrada | United Auto Workers
- Cathy Feingold | American Federation of Labor & Congress of International Organizations (AFL-CIO)
- Ramón Ramírez | Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste
- Adam B. Greene | United States Council for International Business
- Darryl Knudsen | Gap Inc.
- Ed Potter | The Coca-Cola Company
- Anna Walker | Levi Strauss & Co
The Committee is expected to meet twice a year at meetings called by ILAB's Office of Trade and Labor Affairs. The NAC met for the first time on August 25, 2011, in Washington, D.C. to discuss history and trends in the inclusion of labor provisions in free trade agreements, the status of the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC), the status of complaints under the labor chapters of free trade agreements (submissions), and ways to enhance public dialogue on FTAs.
The U.S. Department of Labor may establish one or more sub-committees that report to the full Committee. During the inaugural August 2011 meeting, two sub-committees were established: one to develop recommendations for strengthening the NAALC and another to develop recommendations on how the U.S. can help the CAFTA-DR countries achieve the labor commitments they made in a 2005 public report.2 These recommendations were presented to the full committee at its second meeting on October 13, 2011.
The NAC will hold its third meeting on March 23, 2012.
To request minutes of any National Advisory Committee meeting, please email us at Contact-OTLA@dol.gov.
1) The Committee is established pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended, 5 U.S.C. App. 2 ss1-15; Article 17 of the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NAALC), signed by the Governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States in September 1993; Article 17.4 of the United States Singapore Free Trade Agreement, signed on May 6, 2003; Article 18.4 of the United States Chile Free Trade Agreement, signed on June 6, 2003; Article 18.4 of the United States Australia Free Trade Agreement, signed on May 18, 2004; Article 16.4 of the United States Morocco Free Trade Agreement, signed on June 15, 2004; Article 16.4 of the Central America Dominican Republic United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), signed on August 5, 2004; Article 15.4 of the United States Bahrain Free Trade Agreement, signed on September 14, 2004; Article 16.4 of the United States Oman Free Trade Agreement, signed on January 19, 2006; and Article 17.5 of the United States Peru Trade Promotion Agreement, signed on April 12, 2006.
2 The recommendations developed by the NAC will be published as part of a report from the Office of Trade and Labor Affairs to the U.S. Congress on the implementation of the Labor Chapter of the CAFTADR and on progress made toward the full implementation of labor commitments made by the Vice Ministers of Labor in the CAFTA-DR countries in a 2005 White Paper. The task of the NAC's CAFTADR subcommittee emerges from the CAFTADR Implementation Act of 2006 (19 U.S.C. ss 4111 : US Code Section 4111(a)) which calls for a report to the Congress that includes "[r]ecommendations on how the United States can facilitate full implementation of the recommendations contained in the White Paper." For more information on these recommendations and progress made, which is monitored by the International Labor Organization (ILO) through the U.S. Department of Laborfunded "Verification Project," please read their biannual reports on the ILO Verification Project Website.