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Guatemala Submission under CAFTA-DR

CAFTA-DR Free Trade Agreement logo

The United States and Guatemala have agreed on a robust 18-point Enforcement Plan to address concerns raised in the context of a Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) labor case. The Enforcement Plan includes concrete actions with specific time frames that Guatemala will implement within six months to improve labor law enforcement.

Under the Enforcement Plan, Guatemala commits to:

  • strengthen labor inspections,
  • expedite and streamline the process of sanctioning employers and ordering remediation of labor violations,
  • increase labor law compliance by exporting companies,
  • improve the monitoring and enforcement of labor court orders,
  • publish labor law enforcement information, and
  • establish mechanisms to ensure that workers are paid what they are owed when factories close.

In April 2008, the Department of Labor (DOL) received a submission from the AFL-CIO and six Guatemalan worker organizations alleging that Guatemala had violated its obligation under the CAFTA-DR to effectively enforce its labor laws. After reviewing the submission, DOL issued a public report in January 2009 finding significant weaknesses in Guatemala's labor law enforcement and making specific recommendations for improvement.

In July 2010, after Guatemala's actions, to date, proved insufficient to address the concerns raised in the report, the United States requested consultations with Guatemala under the CAFTA-DR. The consultations failed to resolve the matter, and the United States requested the establishment of an arbitral panel in August 2011. The Parties suspended the panel while attempting to negotiate a comprehensive Enforcement Plan, with concrete and measurable benchmarks and timelines for their implementation. The Plan was agreed to in April 2013.

If Guatemala fully implements the agreed upon Enforcement Plan in the timeframes established, the panel will be terminated one year from the date the Plan is signed. If Guatemala fails to implement the Enforcement Plan within the prescribed timelines, the United States may request that the panel resume its work.

More Information

Learn More: ILAB in Guatemala | Labor Rights & Free Trade Agreements