U.S. Labor May Press Obama for China Sanctions

Reuters reports thats the AFL-CIO labor federation is interested in resubmitting its China workers rights case to the incoming Obama administration. The petition, which the labor organization filed twice under President Bush, claims that China’s lack of workers rights gives the country an unfair trade advantage that warrants U.S. sanctions:

“China’s human rights violations and failure to enforce labor, environment and meaningful product safety standards are unacceptable,” Obama told the Ohio Conference on Fair Trade this year. “Unlike our current president, I will take trade enforcement seriously.”

Former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, Obama’s pick to be representative, also promised on Friday to focus on workers rights.

“He knows there is nothing inconsistent about standing up for free trade and standing up for American workers,” Obama said, promising also not to sign any new trade pacts unless they have enforceable labor and environmental provisions.

The AFL-CIO estimated in its 2006 petition that Chinese exports had a 43 percent cost advantage over U.S. exports, which they blamed for the loss of 973,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs and about 260,000 in other sectors.

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