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US, Japan, Denmark Team to Improve Labor Conditions in Myanmar

The United States is partnering with Japan and Denmark to promote labor rights in Myanmar in an effort to make the nation an attractive sourcing and investment locale with decent working conditions and sustainable growth and development.

In a joint statement released Friday, the White House said the three countries will launch a new “Initiative to Promote Fundamental Labor Rights and Practices in Myanmar” with the International Labour Organization (ILO) aimed at reforming Myanmar’s labor laws over several years.

The initiative is designed to improve the country’s system of labor administration, and get businesses, workers, civil organizations and the government to cooperate on the labor reform plan through a consultative mechanism.

As a first step in developing the initiative, the Myanmar government created a Labor Law Reform Cluster last month to provide a forum for reform talks. The U.S. is providing initial funding to the ILO for a labor law expert to advise Myanmar’s government on its reform efforts.

“Myanmar is at a pivotal stage of its political and economic development, and the country’s future depends on its ability to grow its economy, create decent work, and re-integrate into the global economy.  Governments and stakeholders have a unique opportunity to promote lasting positive development in Myanmar by working together to improve an important component of its investment environment – its labor regime,” the White House joint statement noted.

Initiative participants envision organizing a stakeholder forum in Myanmar in early 2015 to provide input on the reform plan’s development.