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Notice

CAFTA-DR Consultation Request Regarding Guatemala's Apparent Failure to Effectively Enforce its Labor Laws

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Office of the United States Trade Representative.

ACTION:

Notice; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is providing notice that on July 30, 2010, pursuant to the Labor Chapter (Chapter 16) of the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), the United States requested consultations with the Government of Guatemala to discuss Guatemala's apparent failure to meet its obligation under Article 16.2.1(a) to effectively enforce its labor laws. The consultations request may be found at http://www.ustr.gov/​trade-agreements/​free-trade-agreements/​cafta-dr-dominican-republic-central-america-fta/​kirk-solis-le. USTR invites written comments from the public concerning the issues that will be raised in consultations.

DATES:

Although USTR will accept any comments received during the course of the consultations, comments should be submitted on or before September 22, 2010 to be assured of timely consideration by USTR.

ADDRESSES:

Public comments should be submitted electronically to http://www.regulations.gov, docket number USTR-2010-0023. If you are unable to provide submissions through http://www.regulations.gov, please contact Sandy McKinzy at (202) 395-9483 to arrange for an alternative method of transmission. If (as explained below) the comment contains confidential information, then the comment should be submitted by fax only to Sandy McKinzy at (202) 395-3640.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Carlos Quintana, Special Counsel for Trade and Labor, Office of the United States Trade Representative, 600 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20508, (202) 395-9439.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On July 30, 2010, the United States requested consultations with the Government of Guatemala to discuss issues and matters related to Guatemala's obligations under Article 16.2.1(a) of the CAFTA-DR, as well as under Chapter Sixteen of the CAFTA-DR more broadly. Article 16.2.1(a) requires that “[a] Party shall not fail to effectively enforce its labor Start Printed Page 51870laws, through a sustained or recurring course of action or inaction, in a manner affecting trade between the Parties, after the date of entry into force of this Agreement.” The consultations were requested pursuant to Article 16.6.1 of the CAFTA-DR, which states that “[a] Party may request consultations with another Party regarding any matter arising under this Chapter. * * *”

Issues Raised by the United States

In its request for consultations, the United States notes that the Government of Guatemala appears to be failing to meet its obligations under Article 16.2.1(a) with respect to effective enforcement of Guatemalan labor laws related to the right of association, the right to organize and bargain collectively, and acceptable conditions of work. Based on an extensive examination of Guatemala's labor laws, collection of factual evidence, and analysis of Guatemala's obligations under Article 16.2.1(a), the United States identified a significant number of failures by Guatemala to enforce its labor laws, constituting a sustained or recurring course of action or inaction. Failures include: (1) Ministry of Labor failures to investigate alleged labor law violations; (2) Ministry of Labor failures to take enforcement action once the Ministry identified a labor law violation, and (3) Court failures to enforce Labor Court orders in cases involving labor law violations.

Public Comment: Requirements for Submissions

Interested persons are invited to submit written comments concerning the issues that will be raised in consultations. Persons may submit public comments electronically to http://www.regulations.gov docket number USTR-2010-0023. If you are unable to provide submissions by http://www.regulations.gov, please contact Sandy McKinzy at (202) 395-9483 to arrange for an alternative method of transmission.

To submit comments via http://www.regulations.gov, enter docket number 2010-0023 on the home page and click “search”. The site will provide a search-results page listing all documents associated with this docket. Find a reference to this notice by selecting “Notice” under “Document Type” on the left side of the search-results page, and click on the link entitled “Submit a Comment.” (For further information on using the http://www.regulations.gov Web site, please consult the resources provided on the Web site by clicking on “How to Use This Site” on the left side of the home page.)

The www.regulations.gov site provides the option of providing comments by filling in a “Type Comment and Upload File” field, or by attaching a document. It is expected that most comments will be provided in an attached document. If a document is attached, it is sufficient to type “See attached” in the “Type Comment and Upload File” field.

A person requesting that information contained in a comment submitted by that person be treated as confidential business information must certify that such information is business confidential and would not customarily be released to the public by the submitter. Confidential business information must be clearly designated as such and the submission must be marked “BUSINESS CONFIDENTIAL” at the top and bottom of the cover page and each succeeding page. Any comment containing business confidential information must be submitted by fax to Sandy McKinzy at (202) 395-3640. A non-confidential summary of the confidential information must be submitted to www.regulations.gov. The non-confidential summary will be placed in the docket and open to public inspection.

Information or advice contained in a comment submitted, other than business confidential information, may be determined by USTR to be confidential in accordance with section 135(g)(2) of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2155(g)(2)). If the submitter believes that information or advice may qualify as such, the submitter—

(1) Must clearly so designate the information or advice;

(2) Must clearly mark the material as “SUBMITTED IN CONFIDENCE” at the top and bottom of the cover page and each succeeding page; and

(3) Must provide a non-confidential summary of the information or advice.

Any comment containing confidential information must be submitted by fax. A non-confidential summary of the confidential information must be submitted to http://www.regulations.gov. The non-confidential summary will be placed in the docket and open to public inspection.

USTR will maintain a docket on this matter accessible to the public. The public file will include non-confidential comments received by USTR from the public with respect to this matter.

Comments will be placed in the docket and open to public inspection pursuant to 15 CFR 2006.13, except confidential business information exempt from public inspection in accordance with 15 CFR 2006.15 or information determined by USTR to be confidential in accordance with 19 U.S.C. 2155(g)(2). Comments open to public inspection may be viewed on the www.regulations.gov Web site.

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Elissa M. Alben,

Acting Assistant United States Trade Representative for Monitoring and Enforcement.

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[FR Doc. 2010-20756 Filed 8-20-10; 8:45 am]

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