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The United States and Japan set up a working group to promote human rights and labor standards in the supply chain

Profile photo: Office of the United States Trade Representative in Washington
Profile photo: Office of the United States Trade Representative in Washington

The Office of the United States Trade Representative announced Friday (January 6) that US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry Yasutoshi Nishimura signed a memorandum of cooperation to establish a working group to promote human rights and international labor standards in the supply chain.

“The United States and Japan are working together through the U.S.-Japan Trade Partnership to advance a common trade agenda, which includes promoting respect for internationally recognized labor rights,” the USTR statement said. The working group was established under the U.S.-Japan Trade Partnership. ”

The task force provides a platform for the United States and Japan to work together to protect and promote human rights and internationally recognized labor rights, including through trade policies prohibiting the use of forced labor in supply chains.

Through the Working Group, the United States and Japan will exchange information on relevant laws, policies, and guidance, according to the Office of the Trade Representative; facilitating dialogue between stakeholders and businesses and workers’ organizations; and promoting human rights best practices, as well as internally recognized labor rights due diligence. This working group works in areas designed to protect workers and improve the predictability and clarity of businesses so they can contribute to resilient and sustainable supply chains.

“From their leadership role in developing the G7 Trade Ministers’ Statement on Forced Labor to their first release of human rights due diligence guidance for responsible supply chains, to their commitment to work with the United States and the European Union to implement common principles to combat forced labor, the Japanese government has been a trusted partner in the fight to promote workers’ rights and drive trade upstream,” said U.S. Trade Representative Dai Qi. ”

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Ambassador Dai Qi believes that the establishment of this working group is another example of trade becoming a force for good around the world. Developing new tools and bringing together the combined expertise of U.S. and Japanese government agencies will help address the exploitation of workers in global supply chains, she said.

According to the statement from the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the U.S. side participated in the task force including the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the Department of State, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, USAID and other relevant government agencies.

In Japan, the government agencies participating in the working group are the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other relevant ministries.

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