China’s Labor Law

The New York Times

October 19, 2006

Letters to the Editor, page A26

China’s Labor Law

To the Editor:

Re “China Drafts Law to Empower Unions and End Labor Abuse” (front page, Oct. 13):

American companies support high labor standards in China. Indeed, we are troubled that such fundamental rights as freedom of association are forbidden under current Chinese law and not provided for in the draft law.

As a first step, current Chinese labor law needs to be enforced, which your article rightly notes is rarely done and targets supposedly deep-pocketed foreign companies when it is.

But American businesses believe that the draft law is too rigid and will lead to slower job growth. Making matters worse, ambiguities in the draft law would have to be sorted out in a judicial system that does not always operate fairly or predictably.

And since both foreign and domestic employers need a predictable investment climate, it should come as no surprise that an ambiguous and unpredictable law would give investors pause.

Adam B. Greene

New York, Oct. 13, 2006

The writer is vice president of labor and corporate responsibility for the United States Council for International Business.


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Gabriella Rigg Herzog leads USCIB policy and programs on corporate responsibility, international labor standards and corporate governance. She manages USCIB engagement with its affiliated organizations, U.S. government agencies, and United Nations agencies on international corporate responsibility principles, codes of conduct and multi-stakeholder initiatives, as well as international and transnational regulatory activities on labor and employment policies, sustainable development and corporate governance.
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