Brazil and the US Forge Historic Pact to Uphold Decent Work Worldwide
Presidents of Brazil and the US Sign the Partnership for Workers’ Rights: The First Joint U.S.-Brazil Global Initiative to Advance the Rights of Working People Around the World.
In a landmark moment in international diplomacy, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil and President Joe Biden of the United States formally established the Partnership for Workers’ Rights on Wednesday, September 20th, in New York City. This historic agreement is a response to the growing job insecurity prevalent in the new economy.
The partnership signifies an expansion of cooperative efforts between the Brazilian and American governments and is the first formalized accord between two nations dedicated to advancing a global agenda promoting decent work and ensuring workers are informed about their rights.
The meeting between the two leaders occurred during the 78th General Assembly of the United Nations (UN), where both presidents delivered speeches the day before.
Mr. President, it’s great to see you again.
When we last met, you said that we have an obligation to leave the next generation a better world, and I couldn't agree with you more.
Brazil and the United States are meeting that obligation together. pic.twitter.com/RjXxOKbGx2
— President Biden (@POTUS) September 21, 2023
Lula expressed the significance of this moment, stating,
“It is a golden moment for us, full of opportunities, a realization of a dream for young people aged 18, 19, and 20 who face a future without prospects. I believe this gesture of ours can be a beacon of hope, inspiring people to believe in the possibility of creating a fairer, more fraternal world,” Lula remarked, along with Biden and Gilbert F. Houngbo, Director-General of the International Labor Organization (ILO). He added, “I consider this a historic and exemplary moment.”
Lula emphasized the importance of fostering hope over fear and how this partnership can inspire millions of Brazilians and Americans seeking opportunities to lead dignified lives, work, and provide for their families.
Today, President Lula and I are proud to announce the Partnership for Workers' Rights.
Both the President and I share a common vision where workers and their families are protected, empowered, and elevated in our economic policymaking.
That's what our Partnership is about. pic.twitter.com/fHvi3M5os2
— President Biden (@POTUS) September 20, 2023
President Biden also expressed optimism regarding Lula’s commitment to prioritizing the fight against inequality during Brazil’s upcoming presidency of the G20, which begins in December. The G20 comprises 19 of the world’s largest economies, along with the European Union.
Through this partnership, Brazil and the United States will closely collaborate with labor unions from both countries and the ILO, aiming to engage other nations and global partners in their efforts to promote inclusive, sustainable, and widely shared development for all workers.
Key activities under this collaboration include:
- Raising public awareness about labor rights and providing training opportunities for workers to defend their rights.
- Strengthening the pivotal role of workers, ensuring that the transition to clean energy sources creates opportunities for quality employment.
- Collaborating with global partners to advocate for the increased representation of workers in multilateral institutions such as the G20, COP 28, and COP 30.
- Supporting and coordinating technical cooperation programs related to labor.
- Advancing new initiatives to empower and safeguard the labor rights of workers in the digital platform economy.
- Involving private sector partners in innovative approaches to create decent jobs within critical production chains, combat workplace discrimination, and promote diversity.
A New Chapter in U.S.-Brazil Relations
During his meeting with President Biden, Lula emphasized that this partnership for decent work marks the beginning of a new era in the relationship between the United States and Brazil.
“It represents an exceptional opportunity for collaboration between Brazil and the United States. This meeting, for me, symbolizes a rebirth, a new chapter in U.S.-Brazil relations. It is a relationship of equals, a sovereign partnership driven by common interests, and it benefits the working people of both our nations,” Lula declared. He stressed that “poverty and inequality serve no one’s interests.”
Lula also praised President Biden’s commitment to labor rights, highlighting his unprecedented focus on workers in his speeches and policies.
Drawing from his own experience as a metalworker, Lula criticized the prevailing low wages and precarious working conditions worldwide. “I come from the world of labor, where work is often precarious, salaries are meager, and workers’ conditions are deteriorating. The proposal we are discussing, which may find its way to the G20 agenda, is immensely important for Brazil, the United States, and the world,” he explained. Lula also stressed his commitment to improving the standard of living for all Brazilians.
Highlighting the accomplishments of his government in just eight months, Lula emphasized the recovery of democracy, the reinstatement of 42 social policies, and significant investment programs. “For the first time in our democratic history, we have approved a tax policy in the Chamber of Deputies. I believe this will enable Brazil to make a substantial leap in quality, and I hope the relationship between the United States and Brazil will improve as we work together as friends toward our common goals: development and improving the lives of our people.”
Lula also discussed investment opportunities in Brazil, particularly in energy transition projects. He emphasized the potential for joint efforts between Brazil and the United States in areas such as wind, solar, biomass, biodiesel, ethanol, and green hydrogen.
In response, President Biden stressed the importance of collaborative efforts to preserve the environment and promote democracy, not only in Brazil but across the entire continent. He expressed the intention to address the climate crisis by allocating significant resources to preserve the Amazon and vital ecosystems in Latin America. Biden also highlighted the Atlantic cooperation partnership, aimed at promoting economic growth.
The United States stands as Brazil’s second-largest trading partner globally, trailing only China. In 2022 alone, the trade between the two nations reached a total of $88.7 billion, with $37 billion in Brazilian exports and $51.3 billion in imports from the USA.
During President Lula’s visit to Washington earlier in the year, both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to democracy, respect for human rights, and addressing the climate crisis as the focal points of their bilateral agenda. They also decided to revive the activities of the Brazil-US High-Level Working Group on Climate Change (GTMC) and reinvigorate the Brazil-US Joint Action Plan for the Elimination of Ethnic-Racial Discrimination and the Promotion of Equality.
With information from PT.org.br
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