Remarks by Under Secretary Lago - February 13, 2023

The White House, Washington, DC
February 13, 2023

As Prepared for Delivery

[Also available: Video recording of the Interagency Task Force Meeting]

On behalf of Secretary Raimondo, thank you, I’ll touch upon three specific ways that the Department of Commerce is proud to contribute to the work of this Task Force.

First, the international Trade Administration’s strong relationship with industry provides a unique opportunity to collaborate with the private sector to convey critical information about human trafficking and forced labor in foreign markets, including via the excellent training that Ambassador Dyer mentioned.

Second, Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security continually works with other U.S. Government agencies to ensure that foreign governments and foreign companies that exploit forced labor are constrained in their ability to access U.S. technology, software, and commodities.

Finally, the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) worked with CBP and other agencies to identify potential forced labor practices on fishing vessels, as well as in fishing products that may have been produced using forced labor.

NOAA convened senior government officials from a host of U.S. Government agencies and key leaders representing industry, NGOs, retailers, foundations, and workers organizations at “A Call to Action” national summit. They discussed the shared goals of supporting decent working conditions in the seafood sector.
NOAA also facilitated a panel discussion during the Seafood Expo North America that brought together U.S. government and outside stakeholders as part of a 21-member U.S. Interagency Working Group on Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing. The Working Group focused on the current landscape, challenges, and innovative opportunities to leverage public-private expertise and resources to combat labor issues in the seafood sector.

Thank you again for including the Department of Commerce in this Task Force.