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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2006 > September
Press Statement
Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC
September 28, 2006


U.S. Increases Support for Labor and Environmental Protection Improvements in CAFTA-DR Countries

The Department of State announced today that the U.S. government will commit $39.6 million in 2006 to help Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) member countries enhance labor and environmental protection practices, to ensure that the broad spectrum of CAFTA-DR societies benefit from free trade.

The funded projects will complement initiatives now underway in these areas that received $19.84 million in support in 2005. Projects to be funded are both local and regional in scope, and were identified in consultation with member state governments to ensure they address priorities specific to each country. Of the 2006 funding, $21.1 million will be devoted to the area of labor, in programs to:

  • strengthen labor ministries by professionalizing labor inspectorates and by partnering with local organizations to increase the efficiency of the complaint handling process within the Ministry of Labor;
  • strengthen the effectiveness of countries’ judicial systems to enforce existing labor laws;
    • eliminate gender and other types of discrimination in the workplace;
    • enhance benchmarking and verification procedures;
    • support the development of a culture of compliance with labor laws; and
    • reduce chemical risks to agricultural workers from pesticides.

From the 2006 funds, $18.5 million will go to environment projects to:

  • improve the implementation and enforcement of environmental laws;
  • enhance biodiversity and conservation;
  • promote market-based conservation such as sustainable tourism and sustainable agricultural and forest products;
  • increase private sector environmental performance; and
  • address specific CAFTA-DR obligations that promote public participation and effective enforcement of environmental laws.
2006/879

Released on September 28, 2006

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