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US Trade Representative Office publishes annual report

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Monday, November 9
Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia received a letter from US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, in which the US Trade Representative underscored the progress made in improving the protection of workers' rights in Georgia.

Robert Lighthizer notes that the US Trade Representative's office began hearing the case in 2010 based on a petition filed by the American Labor Federation and Congressional Industrial Organizations alleging that Georgia did not meet the eligibility requirements under the US Generalized System of Preferences.

“The petition raised three major concerns: legal restrictions on the right of association, hostility on the part of the government and interference in trade union affairs, and the abolition of the Labor Inspectorate in 2006. Since then, the United States Government has worked closely with the Government of Georgia to address these issues,” reads the statement.

Lighthizer talks about the challenges ahead in the law enforcement process and highlights the importance of increasing labor inspection capacity.

“I understand that the implementation of the new legislation will be full of challenges. We urge you to focus, in the coming months, on increasing the capacity of the labor inspectorate, including the employment and training of labor inspectors, the professionalization of the inspectorate, and the allocation of sufficient funding from the state budget for its operation and equipment.”

Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Natia Turnava made special comments about it. “It is gratifying that the US Trade Representation noted in its recent report the great progress that Georgia has made in protecting the rights of its employees.”

The annual summary report prepared by the US Trade Representative Office is quite important for Georgia. According to the report, Georgia has maintained a preferential trade regime with the United States as a result of its efforts to improve the protection of employees' rights.

According to the report, Georgia, based on the results achieved in terms of improving the protection of employees' rights, has successfully passed the GSP (Generalized System of Preferences) program review procedure, and the country will retain all the benefits provided by the program.