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Joint Statement of the Labor Subcommittee of the United States – Morocco Free Trade Agreement

Joint Statement of the Labor Subcommittee of the United States – Morocco Free Trade Agreement

 Rabat, Morocco
September 26, 2014

The Labor Subcommittee of the United States – Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA) convened its second meeting on September 25-26, 2014, in Rabat, Morocco.  Article 16.5 of the FTA recognizes that cooperation between Morocco and the U.S. provides enhanced opportunities to improve labor standards, and the Subcommittee is a formal mechanism for our two countries to work together to better understand each country’s labor situation, cooperate on labor issues, and facilitate interaction with the public on labor matters. 

The Subcommittee comprises senior officials from the labor, trade and other appropriate ministries:

- The Moroccan delegation included officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Employment and Social Affairs, and of External Commerce.

- The U.S. delegation included officials from the U.S. Department of Labor, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the U.S. Department of State. 

The Department of Labor and Ministry of Employment have had an ongoing program of technical cooperation involving trainings provided by the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services to labor inspectors and to social partners to improve industrial relations and to improve mediation of labor disputes. 

In addition, the U.S. government has met with the Ministry of Employment on many issues at technical levels. As a result of these meetings, the U.S. Department of Labor is launching a technical assistance project designed to address child labor, improve livelihoods and support safe youth employment and a project to empower women through increased recognition, promotion and enforcement of their labor rights in the coming weeks.

During the meeting, the Subcommittee reaffirmed the Parties’ labor commitments under the FTA and further clarified the domestic mechanisms, institutions, and procedures that each Party has established to advance the implementation of the FTA’s labor provisions.

The Subcommittee also held in-depth discussions on several topics, including: (1) activities to strengthen institutional capacity and labor law enforcement and compliance; (2) prevention of child labor and promotion of youth employment; and (3) other areas of common interest, such as protections against gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace and the promotion of tripartite social dialogue.

The Parties remain committed to engaging on a regular and continuing basis to vigorously advance labor rights and the FTA’s labor provisions.

During this meeting of the Labor Subcommittee, the parties discussed the following issues:

- Engagement and mechanisms for implementing the Labor Chapter of the FTA;

- Changes in labor legislation;

- Social status of vulnerable populations (including children, women, domestic workers and migrants);

- Industrial relations;

- Social dialogue; and,

- Technical cooperation.

At the conclusion of the Subcommittee meeting the morning of September 26, the Parties convened a public session inviting workers, employers, civil society organizations, and the general public to discuss matters relating to the implementation of the Labor Chapter.  The Parties believe that the public session just concluded helps foster greater transparency in the administration of the FTA’s labor provisions and furthers the successful implementation of those labor provisions.