TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP TACKLES MALAYSIA TRAFFICKING, VIETNAM LABOR
Malaysia and Vietnam are looking to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which will open up new opportunities for their electronics and clothing companies. However, in order for the two countries to be a part of the TPP, they are required to create regulations for minimum wages and work hours in both countries to prevent forced labor and create meaningful labor protections.
Malaysia was recently upgraded to “Tier 2 Watch List” in the Trafficking in Persons Report of 2015. Concerns have been raised over Malaysia’s upgrade and many doubt their commitment to end human trafficking because “dozens of suspected mass migrant graves” were found by the authorities and forced labor has been repeatedly reported in the palm oil, construction, and electronics industries. However, Malaysia is showing that they are trying to make a difference and will implement reforms to meet TPP’s standards and discourage all illegal employment in the country.
Criticized for cheap wages and weak worker protections, Vietnam will have to give rights to all workers to form their own independent labor unions as it applies to all TPP countries. Also, forced labor convictions will result in higher penalties and there will be strong protection for workers.
“Being tied to entry into force means we have the ability to certify whether or not a country has met those standards so it gives us significant leverage,” U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said.
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Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation