[Excerpt] Protecting workers’ rights is a top priority for the Obama Administration, and the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and the Department of Labor (DOL) are leading the Administration’s efforts to improve labor laws and working conditions with trading partners in virtually every region of the globe. These efforts are made in close coordination with other U.S. agencies and in collaboration with Congressional and other stakeholders, as well as international partners such as the International Labour Organization (ILO).
This report discusses the Obama Administration’s efforts in a number of key countries—Guatemala, Colombia, Jordan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Swaziland, Haiti and Burma—in which USTR and DOL have had intensive engagement on labor issues in recent years. Presenting unique opportunities and challenges, each country has required a tailored approach—from the invocation of formal dispute settlement procedures, to action under U.S. preference programs, to negotiation of specific commitments for change, to consultations and collaborative efforts to develop a path forward. Our objective, however, has been the same in each case—to make trade work better for workers.