USCIB filed public comments with the United States Trade Representative (USTR) August 5 in response to a request for input on a U.S. trade strategy to combat forced labor. According to the submission, a successful U.S. forced labor trade policy must assume a whole-of government approach that is multi-faceted, multilateral and risk-based in nature, focused on addressing the root causes of forced labor, including promoting rule of law in nations struggling to adopt and enforce internationally recognized labor standards.
With respect to trade policy tools, USCIB argued that USTR should leverage positive and accelerated, market incentives and market access for countries striving to tackle forced labor; provide capacity building and technical assistance to help governments struggling with compliance; and increase interagency collaboration and engagement with industry, allies, and multilateral institutions on promoting solutions to common supply chain problems. USCIB’s comments, which were built on past positions, statements, and work related to the critical topic of forced labor in supply chains, focused on both policy and technical issues, and supported the need for increased engagement with the trade community writ large.
“USCIB members condemn all forms of forced labor, and are deeply committed to preventing the use of forced labor in their supply chains,” said USCIB Director for Investment, Trade and China Alice Slayton Clark. “In fact, when they trade and invest in the global marketplace, they deploy and export responsible business practices and promote social responsibility around the world.”
For the U.S. Government’s forced labor trade strategy to be effective it must be developed considering industry perspectives and inputs.
The government must engage the trade community in partnership to support trade, investment, supply chain due diligence and compliance. They must also provide clear guidance to companies, addressing any new rules implementing forced labor eradication strategies.
“USCIB and our member companies are ready, willing and able to provide general policy as well as technical customs and trade facilitation guidance to support the effort to develop a focused trade strategy to combat forced labor,” added Clark.
Through its membership affiliation with the International Organization of Employers (IOE), USCIB holds the formal role as the U.S. employer representative at the International Labor Organization (ILO), and has long served as a leading industry voice in promoting core labor standards, bolstering human rights, and eradicating child labor and forced labor in global supply chains.