Readout of First Round of the U.S.-Japan Task Force on the Promotion of Human Rights and International Labor Standards in Supply Chains

February 14, 2024

The United States and Japan held the first round of government and stakeholder dialogues under the Task Force on the Promotion of Human Rights and International Labor Standards in Supply Chains. The dialogues were held virtually on February 5 and February 13.
The Task Force, which was launched last year by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, is a mechanism for the United States and Japan to protect and promote human rights and internationally recognized labor rights, including by prohibiting the use of forced labor in supply chains through trade policy. In the government dialogue, chaired for the U.S. by Acting Assistant United States Trade Representative (AUSTR) for Labor Katy Mastman, agencies from both countries’ governments exchanged information on relevant laws, policies, and guidance, including:

  • Labor provisions in U.S. trade policy: highlighting the example of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Rapid Response Mechanism
  • Implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act
  • Updates on the Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory
  • Methodologies for developing the Department of Labor’s lists of goods produced by child labor or forced labor

For the United States, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Labor, and Department of State also participated in the government dialogue. For Japan, the participating agencies were the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, and the Ministry of Justice.
In the stakeholder dialogue, which was also co-chaired by acting AUSTR Mastman, stakeholders from both countries, including civil society organizations, businesses, and worker organizations, engaged in discussion and information sharing on best practices on corporate due diligence on human rights and internationally recognized labor rights. Participating organizations from the United States included the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade, the United States Council for International Business, the AFL-CIO, Verité, and the Responsible Sourcing Network. Participating organizations from Japan included the Japan Business Federation, the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, Action against Child Exploitation, the Global Alliance for Sustainable Supply Chain, and the International Labor Organization Office for Japan.