Leading Members of Congress Call for Real and Meaningful Labor Protections in TPP
WASHINGTON, DC—Four leading members of Congress today called on United States Trade Representative Michael Froman to ensure “real, meaningfully enforceable labor protections” are included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Democratic Representatives Rosa DeLauro, George Miller, Loretta Sanchez and Mark Pocan also requested a status update from Ambassador Froman so they can better understand what measures and assurances are being discussed as part of the TPP negotiations, which have been conducted largely in secret.
“Free trade agreements with nations that violate international child labor and forced labor standards not only undermine our moral authority, but they also capitalize on the lack of oversight and regulation in developing nations,” the representatives wrote to Ambassador Froman. “Here in this country, we have fought hard to protect our workers, yet, our free trade policy undermines those protections by sending American jobs to countries that do not play by the rules…The opportunity to get an education and a good paying job are not only American dreams, but global dreams. We have a responsibility to ensure that under no circumstances is it acceptable for children to work in sweatshops to produce the goods we consume. We can and must do better.”
This past Monday the Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs released their annual List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor report. Vietnam, Mexico, Peru, and Malaysia, one-third of the nations included in the TPP, were all cited for labor abuses in the report. Vietnam was also one of only four countries in the world cited for using both forced and child labor in their apparel sector.
Representatives of the TPP countries will meet in Washington, DC next week to hold the latest round of negotiations.