[Excerpt] The Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) was approved by the United States Congress in 2005 through the CAFTA- DR Implementation Act. Reflecting the importance of the labor standards set out in Chapter 16 of the Agreement, Section 403(a) of the CAFTA-DR Implementation Act (codified at 19 U.S.C. § 4111(a)) includes a requirement for reporting on labor issues. Specifically, it requires the President to submit a biennial report to Congress on the progress made by the CAFTA-DR countries in implementing (i) Chapter 16 (Labor) of the CAFTA-DR and Annex 16.5 (Labor Cooperation and Capacity Building Mechanism) and (ii) the recommendations in the April 2005 report of the Working Group of the Vice Ministers Responsible for Trade and Labor in the Countries of Central America and the Dominican Republic (hereinafter the “White Paper”). The President delegated this reporting function to the Secretary of Labor, to be carried out in consultation with the United States Trade Representative (USTR).
This report has been prepared in accordance with the Act and addresses both the general requirements regarding Chapter 16 and the White Paper, and the four content requirements summarized below (see Annex A for Congressional language):
- A description of the progress made in achieving the goals of the Labor Cooperation and Capacity Building Mechanism and the Labor Affairs Council, including a description of the capacity-building projects undertaken, funds received and results achieved (that is, the actual outcomes) in each CAFTA-DR country;
- Recommendations on how the United States Government (USG) can facilitate full implementation of the recommendations contained in the White Paper;
- A description of the work done by the CAFTA-DR countries with the International Labor Organization (ILO) to implement the recommendations contained in the White Paper and the efforts of the CAFTA-DR countries with international organizations, through the Labor Cooperation and Capacity Building Mechanism, to advance common commitments regarding labor matters;
- A summary of public comments received on (a) the efforts made by the CAFTA-DR countries to comply with Article 16.5 of the agreement and to implement the White Paper recommendations; (b) efforts by the USG to facilitate full implementation of the White Paper recommendations; and (c) capacity- building efforts by the USG envisaged by Article 16.5 and Annex 16.5 of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA).