Proposed Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Labor Issues [November 24, 2008]   [open pdf - 153KB]

"This report examines three labor issues and arguments related to the pending U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement (CFTA): violence against trade unionists; impunity (accountability for or punishment of the perpetrators); and worker rights protections for Colombians. [...]. Opponents of the pending U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement (CFTA) argue against it on three points: (1) the high rate of violence against trade unionists in Colombia; (2) the lack of adequate punishment for the perpetrators of that violence; and (3) weak Colombian enforcement of International Labor Organization (ILO) core labor standards and labor laws. Proponents of the agreement argue primarily for the proposed Colombia FTA on the basis of economic and national security benefits. Accordingly, they argue, the CFTA would: support increased exports, expand economic growth, create jobs, and open up investment opportunities for the United States. They also argue that it would reinforce the rule of law and spread values of capitalism in Colombia, and anchor hemispheric stability. [...]. If Congress were to approve the Colombia FTA, it would be the second FTA (after Peru) to have some labor enforcement 'teeth.' Labor provisions including the four basic ILO core labor standards would be enforceable through the same dispute settlement procedures as for all other provisions (i.e., primarily those for commercial interests.) Opponents argue that under CFTA, only the concepts of core labor standards, and not the details of the ILO conventions behind them, would be enforceable."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL34759
Public Domain
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