During the working visit, on February 7, 2019, a delegation of Uzbekistan led by the Deputy PM Tanzila Narbayeva held talks in Washington at the Department of State, Office of the Trade Representative, Department of Labor and the US Council on International Business (USCIB).
According to the press service of the MFA, at a meeting with Deputy Assistant of the US Trade Representative for the issues of application in the General System of Preferences (GSP) Erland Herfindahl and representative for South and Central Asia Zeba Reyazuddin discussed measures taken to prevent and suppress forced labor.
Erland Herfindal informed on the current consideration of the issue of applying the GSP duty free trade regime in relation to Uzbekistan. According to him, this is caused by the issue of forced labor. In this context, he stressed timeliness of the visit of the Uzbek delegation and expressed appreciation for the information provided. In his opinion, it would be useful in developing appropriate recommendations for the presidential administration of the US.
Zeba Reyazuddin noted that she had an opportunity to repeatedly visit Uzbekistan and be convinced of the significant transformations achieved in the last two years.
It is noted that the US side stated “a universal recognition of the progress of Uzbekistan in the issue of eliminating forced labor” and welcomed the open and constructive negotiations of the Uzbek delegation with the “Cotton Campaign”, which should have a positive effect in the perception of openness of Uzbekistan among the US human rights community.
In the course of the meeting with the Uzbek delegation, US Deputy Secretary of Labor Martha Newton noted a tangible progress in eliminating forced labor in Uzbekistan over the past two years.
“During the meeting, issues of cooperation between the US Department of Labor and the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations of Uzbekistan were also discussed. In particular, they touched upon aspects of cooperation in implementation of international labor standards, joint research of the labor market and demographic situation of Uzbekistan, management of large databases, as well as prospects for technical and consulting assistance. Prospects for attracting an American expert as a permanent adviser to the Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations are considered separately,” the MFA said.
These areas of cooperation are particularly relevant in the context of developing a new Labor Code of Uzbekistan and plans for conducting a census in 2022.
The delegation also held talks with the ambassador-at-large in the field of monitoring and combating human trafficking John Richmond.
A representative of the US Department of State welcomed openness of the government of Uzbekistan to discuss “sensitive issues” and praised measures taken in the republic to prevent the use of child and forced labor. The Ambassador emphasized the importance of legal and institutional mechanisms for combating human trafficking created in the country.
Issues related to the protection of workers’ rights, as well as prospects for building partnership between business circles of the two countries were discussed during a meeting with representatives of the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), which brings together more than 300 US transnational corporations, large law firms and business associations.