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Bill To Ban ‘Sweatshop’-Made Goods Introduced In US Senate January 23, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Congress, Politics, US News.
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WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–A group of six U.S. senators introducted legislation Tuesday that would ban imports of goods made in “sweatshop” factories and allow retailers to take competitors to court for selling them.

The bill defines sweatshop factories as those which abuse workers by violating any labor laws in their home countries. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., along with Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Robert Byrd, D-W.V., Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., sponsored the measure.

“There is no reason for the United States of America to allow the sale of products made in slave labor-like conditions,” Dorgan said in a statement. “It would also stand up for American producers and American workers and tell them they don’t have to compete against those who cut corners at the cost of human health, dignity and even human lives.”

Dorgan charged that free trade agreements between the U.S. and developing countries has fueled growth in sweatshop production. The treatment of labor has become the focal point of opposition in Congress to free-trade agreements signed by the Bush administration.

Up to now, Bush’s trade negotiators have struck deals which say each party to the agreement must enforce its own labor laws without specifying what those laws must be. Democratic leaders have said labor provisions in agreements signed with Peru, Colombia, and Panama will have to change or the treaties won’t be approved.

The Dorgan legislation would impose a $10,000 fine for each labor-law violation in a factory. U.S. retailers would gain the right to sue each other for selling goods produced in factories which violate labor laws.

By Elizabeth Price, Dow Jones Newswires

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