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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

ILAB News Release: [08/09/2011]
Contact Name: Gloria Della or Joshua Lamont
Phone Number: (202) 693-8666 or x4661
Release Number: 11-1206-NAT

Statement by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on labor rights enforcement case against Guatemala

WASHINGTON — Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement regarding the decision to request an arbitral panel in a dispute over labor rights enforcement by Guatemala:

"I applaud U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk's decision today to request the establishment of an arbitral panel under the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement in a dispute regarding the government of Guatemala's failure to effectively enforce its labor laws.

"This unprecedented step demonstrates the Obama administration's determination to enforce the labor obligations that form an integral part of the United States' free trade agreements. This is the first labor case brought to dispute settlement by the United States under a free trade agreement. We are committed to ensuring that U.S. businesses and workers compete on a level playing field.

"Guatemala's persistent failure to address the systemic problems with its labor law enforcement has left the United States with no choice other than to pursue this enforcement action."

Editor's note: More information on this issue is available at http://www.ustr.gov/about-us/press-office/press-releases/2011/august/us-trade-representative-ron-kirk-announces-next-ste.