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Guatemala Submission under CAFTA-DR

CAFTA-DR Free Trade Agreement logo

The United States will proceed with its labor enforcement case against Guatemala under the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) to address Guatemala’s failure to effectively enforce its labor laws. The United States decided to continue the dispute settlement case and reconvene the arbitral panel after Guatemala failed to fully implement the 18-point Enforcement Plan it signed with the United States in April 2013, despite taking important steps.  The Enforcement Plan included concrete actions to improve labor law enforcement that Guatemala needed to take within specific time frames, such as:

  • strengthening labor inspections,
  • expediting and streamlining the process of sanctioning employers and ordering remediation of labor violations,
  • increasing labor law compliance by exporting companies,
  • improving the monitoring and enforcement of labor court orders,
  • publishing labor law enforcement information, and
  • establishing mechanisms to ensure that workers are paid what they are owed when factories close.

A panel decision is expected early next year.

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 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. 

More Information

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