Guatemala sets up a commission to defend the US claim

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Prensa Libre | 8-11-14

Guatemala sets up a commission to defend the US claim

Freely translated by Anoosha Boralessa in April 2015 ; not reviewed by bilaterals.org or any other organization or person.

By Redacción Económico

The Government of Guatemala set up an inter-agency commission to support its dispute settlement process. The Commission will support Guatemala’s defence in the labour proceedings initiated by the United States.

CITY OF GUATEMALA – The Commission was made official by the Government Agreement 380 – 2014, published this Thursday in el Diario de Centro América and will be a temporary authority.

Its function is to coordinate the technical and legal support for Guatemala’s defense in this proceedings.

Last Monday, 3 November 2014, the US Trade Representatives Office (USTR) submitted evidence against the State of Guatemala to commence labour arbitration under CAFTA-DR.

Under Chapter 16 CAFTA-DR, the process could result in a fine of up to US$15 million.

The Commission is comprised of a representative and a deputy appointed by the following official agencies : the Attorney General, the Minister of Economy, the Minister of Labour, Minister of Public Finances and the Minister of External Affairs, all of which must take office ad honorem.

A Treasury representative acting together with the Attorney General will coordinate their activities.

The Commission will run for two years from the Friday 7 November. It must submit a monthly report to the President of the Republic and Guatemala will have to respond at the latest within 30 days from the date of notification.

In Washington on 18 September 2014, Michael Froman the head of the USTR and Thomas E. Perez, the US Secretary for Labour announced the decision to initiate arbitration proceedings against Guatemala to enforce compliance with the agreed improvements to labour laws contained in the Action Plan.

This Action Plan includes reforming the Labour Code so as to authorize the General Labour Inspectorate and sanctioning enterprises that fail to comply with the law. Further reforms are regulating tax benefits for companies regulated by Decree 29-89, establishing time limits to process complaints and reviewing infringements identified following employer compliance verification and to revoke benefits for companies that do not comply with the labour law in force.

source: Prensa Libre