[Excerpt] This report responds to U.S. Submission 2011-03 (Dominican Republic), filed by Father Christopher Hartley on December 22, 2011, with the Office of Trade and Labor Affairs (OTLA) of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs. The submission alleges violations of the Labor Chapter of the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), which has been in force between the United States and the Dominican Republic since March 2007.
Although the Dominican Republic in general has a strong legal framework for protecting internationally recognized labor rights, allegations of labor abuses in the Dominican sugar sector have been longstanding subjects of international scrutiny. Reports on working conditions in this sector have repeatedly highlighted concerns. The Government of the Dominican Republic has conducted preventive labor inspections across the country during the period under review. However, the OTLA review has identified significant concerns about procedural and methodological shortcomings of that inspection process in the sugar sector that undermine the government’s capacity to effectively identify labor violations. The United States believes that implementation by the Government of the Dominican Republic of the recommendations in this report would help address such concerns and would improve the protection and promotion of worker rights in the sugar sector.