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ILAB News Release: [05/19/2010]
Contact Name: Gloria Della or Clarisse Young
Phone Number: (202) 693-8666 or x5051
Release Number: 10-0692-NAT

US Department of Labor and US trade representative meet on US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement

RABAT, Morocco — The United States and Morocco on May 18 convened in Rabat the inaugural meeting of the Sub-Committee on Labor Affairs created under the United States-Morocco Free Trade Agreement. Representatives at the meeting reaffirmed their commitments under the agreement to recognize and protect the rights stated in the International Labor Organization's Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

The U.S. delegation was led by Timothy Wedding, deputy director of the Office of Trade and Labor Affairs of the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of International Labor Affairs, and Laura Buffo, director for labor affairs at the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Morocco and the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor also participated in the meeting. Jamal Rhmani, Morocco's minister of employment and professional training, hosted the meeting.

The Sub-Committee on Labor Affairs is responsible for overseeing implementation of the agreement's labor chapter.

The sub-committee agreed to a series of cooperative labor activities to improve enforcement of labor laws and to hold regular meetings to review progress in implementing the labor chapter commitments.

"Based on the productive discussion we had in the sub-committee meeting, we look forward to continuing to work with the Government of Morocco to address our shared goals to improve workers' rights and livelihoods," said Wedding.

The sub-committee held a public session, which included worker and business representatives, to discuss implementation of the labor chapter.

"Public sessions are critical to strengthening communication and ensuring transparency among social partners," said Buffo. "The session included a productive exchange of perspectives that will help to further the successful implementation of the chapter's commitments."

The U.S. delegation also held a series of one-on-one meetings with stakeholders from the private sector and civil society, including labor unions, to further monitor labor chapter implementation and discussed a broad range of labor issues, including initiatives to improve respect for labor rights.