The United States included gender provisions in seven trade agreements, according to a report by the White House Trade Representation (USTR).
These trade agreements include “gender-related provisions” or address explicit gender-related considerations.
For example, the FTA between the United States and Chile (art. 9, annex 9.1) was the first trade agreement of the United States that included a provision related to gender: exemptions to the public procurement chapter, which means that the chapter is not it applies to programs that promote women-owned businesses (including minority-owned businesses and disabled veterans) and, as such, allows reservations for these businesses.
The trade agreements with Morocco, Colombia, Panama and Peru, as well as the USMCA contain similar provisions.
More specifically, the note typically reads: “This Chapter does not apply to preferences or restrictions associated with programs that promote the development of distressed areas or businesses owned by minorities, disabled veterans, or women.” Chile-United States FTA, art. 9, annex 9.1.
A common example of these provisions is the identified gender cooperation and capacity building priority, “development of programs on gender issues, including the elimination of discrimination with respect to employment and occupation”. PTPA, art. 17.
The USMCA broadens this treatment to include potential areas of cooperation such as “developing analytical and application tools related to equal pay for equal work or work of equal value” and “promoting labor practices that integrate and retain women in the labor market and the development of the capacity and skills of women workers, including challenges in the workplace and collective bargaining. ”USMCA, art. 23.
The second type of gender provision is included within the labor chapters and establishes a mechanism for labor cooperation to address issues of common interest, including the elimination of gender discrimination in the workplace. The FTAs with Bahrain, Panama and Peru, as well as the USMCA, include this type of provision.
At the same time, the only enforceable gender provision in a US trade agreement is found in the T-MEC.
Specifically, the USMCA includes a new provision related to gender that is in the article on discrimination in the workplace.
In addition to discrimination based on explicit gender issues, such as sex (including with regard to sexual harassment), pregnancy and gender identity, this article also obliges parties to implement “appropriate” policies that address discrimination based on sexual orientation and caring responsibilities; leave for birth, adoption and family care; and wage discrimination.
Failure to comply with these obligations can lead to trade sanctions against the country that does not comply.