to require higher labor standards from its supplier companies located in countries such as China. Some large U.S. companies have adopted workplace codes of conduct for their Chinese suppliers. 46
Labor standards have become an issue in various free trade agreements negotiated by the United States. In a May 2007 “Bipartisan Agreement on Trade Policy” the Bush Administration and leaders of Congress agreed to include certain provisions related to labor (as well as the environment and intellectual property rights) in trade agreements. 47
An early implementation of this trade deal appeared in the pending free trade agreement with Peru. On June 25, 2007, the United States and Peru signed amendments to the pending U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement that included labor provisions from the bipartisan trade deal. This included a statement that the United States and Peru would be required to adopt, maintain and enforce their own labor laws as well as five basic internationally-recognized labor standards, as stated in the 1998 International Labor Organization Declaration. These included (1) freedom of association; (2) the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; (3) the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor; (4) the effective abolition of child labor and a prohibition on the worst forms of child labor; and (5) the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. The Peru amendments also provide that any decision made by a signatory on the distribution of enforcement resources would not be a reason for not complying with the labor provisions, and that parties would not be allowed to derogate from labor obligations in a manner affecting trade or investment. 48
Labor issues also have been raised in debates over proposed free trade agreements with Columbia, Panama, and South Korea as well as in considering renewal of trade promotion authority. 49
The declining share of U.S. employment accounted for by manufacturing over the past half century has long been a concern for policymakers. For the 21 sub-sectors comprising the manufacturing sector in the United States, between the fourth quarter of 2000 and third quarter of
rights and to incorporate obligations to uphold these fundamental rights in international rules and institutions. See AFL- CIO, “Policy Solutions to Shipping Jobs Overseas,” accessed via Internet on September 15, 2008.
46 See archived CRS Report RL31862, Workplace Codes of Conduct in China and Related Labor Conditions, by Thomas Lum.
See U.S. Trade Representative, “Trade Facts, Bipartisan Agreement on Trade Policy,” May 2007.
48 See CRS Report RL34108, U.S.-Peru Economic Relations and the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement, by M. Angeles Villarreal. For information on the International Labor Organization, see http://www.ilo.org/global/lang-en/ index.htm.
49 See CRS Report RL34470, A U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement: Economic and Political Implications, by M. Angeles Villarreal; CRS Report RL32540, The Proposed U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement, by J. F. Hornbeck; CRS Report RL34330, The Proposed U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA): Provisions and Implications, by William H. Cooper et al.; and CRS Report RL33743, Trade Promotion Authority (TPA): Issues, Options, and Prospects for Renewal, by J. F. Hornbeck and William H. Cooper.