WASHINGTON - United States Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick and Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao today announced that USTR and the Labor Department's Labor Advisory Committee (LAC) has been re-chartered, thereby strengthening the ongoing consultative process the two agencies are engaged in with domestic stakeholders.
"I am pleased that organized labor continues to provide input on trade and international labor standards," said Secretary Chao. "The President's agenda on trade will benefit working Americans and interactions like these will help secure the goal."
"I strongly believe that the advisory committee system is a valuable way for us to stay in touch and hear the priorities of the private sector and civil society. The new committee is bigger and more representative than ever. I'm pleased that we are going to reinvigorate this important committee," Ambassador Zoellick said. "Throughout the past year, we at USTR continued to consult with the labor community and I look forward to this ongoing dialogue."
During 2001, USTR met with labor representatives on priority trade issues of interest in briefings and meetings. Several labor representatives attended the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial in Doha, Qatar, and were consulted by U.S. officials. At Doha, USTR took the unprecedented step of linking trade advisors and the public during the ministerial with up-to-date information and briefings via live and recorded web casts on USTR's homepage.
Early in the Bush Administration, Ambassador Zoellick appointed the first-ever Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Labor, William "Bud" Clatanoff, who has been actively involved in maintaining a dialogue with the American labor community.
LAC is part of the private sector trade advisory system, established by the Congress under the Trade Act of 1974. The advisory committee system was created to ensure that U.S. trade policy and trade negotiation objectives adequately reflect U.S. interests. The advisory committees assist the Executive Branch in soliciting and obtaining advice from industry, agriculture, environmental, labor and other non-governmental organizations throughout the trade policy process.
A list of the LAC members is available here.