COLLEGE PARK – The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the European Commission led today the inaugural principals’ meeting of the United States and European Union tripartite Trade and Labor Dialogue. The meeting included key U.S. and EU labor and business representatives, and focused on identifying opportunities for governments, labor unions, and businesses to collaborate to eliminate forced labor in supply chains.
The dialogue was launched under the U.S.- EU Trade and Technology Council. It allows the U.S. and the EU to consult workers’ organizations and business representatives on transatlantic trade and labor issues jointly, especially in relation to the work of the TTC Working Group on Global Trade Challenges.
The event was co-hosted by United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai, U.S. Department of Labor Deputy Undersecretary of International Affairs Thea Lee, and European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis.
“The recently released global estimates of 28 million people in forced labor highlight that the products we trade continue to be tainted by human exploitation,” said Ambassador Katherine Tai. “Our partnership with the European Union, and our collaboration with labor unions and business leaders, is critical to our work to make trade a force for good and transform the way we treat workers – not just in the United States, but around the world.”
“Our policies must meet the challenges workers face throughout the global economy,” said Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee. “This means eliminating forced labor from our supply chains and ensuring workers’ rights are protected in the growing digital economy. We look forward to cooperating with our partners in the U.S. and the E.U. to realize our shared goals for inclusive trade and economic development, built on strong support for international labor rights.”
In a prior technical level meeting of the dialogue, union and business leaders identified the following priority areas for further discussion and cooperation: combatting forced labor, including in global supply chains, and exploring the impact of digital trade on workers.
The topics discussed at the principals’ meeting included:
- Leveraging trade tools between the United States and the European Union to eliminate forced labor in the global economy.
- Fostering cooperation between labor unions and businesses, and governments to identify, prevent, address, and reduce the risk of forced labor at every level of the supply chain in line with international standards.
- Incorporating collective worker voice into actions to address forced labor in supply chains
The U.S. labor and business representatives included the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, Communications Workers of America, SAG-AFTRA, Solidarity Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Council of International Business, Information Technology Industry Council, and National Foreign Trade Council.
The EU labor and business representatives included the European Trade Union Confederation and BusinessEurope.