Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg for the first time has registered with the U.S. Justice Department to lobby for a foreign country.
The Guatemala Ministry of the Economy has enlisted the international trade and customs law firm to help it in Washington with the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), a free trade agreement the United States signed with it, as well as other Central American countries and the Dominican Republic, according to Foreign Agents Registration Act paperwork filed with DOJ last week. Sandler's work for the ministry concerns a request by the United States to create an arbitration panel under the agreement.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk last year called for the panel's establishment to review whether Guatemala is enforcing its labor laws, including statutes concerning work conditions, the right of association and the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively. But Guatemala economy minister Sergio de la Torre told Reuters last month that the United States has decided to put the panel on hold in an effort to informally resolve concerns about the country's enforcement of labor laws.
Firm trade negotiations and legislative affairs president J. Nicole Bivens Collinson, trade and legislative affairs director David Olave and senior trade and government relations adviser Andy Olson, all of whom are based in Washington, are handling the account.
Neither the lobbyists nor a representative of the Guatemala embassy in Washington could immediately be reached for comment.
Guatemala is Central America's most populous country, but also one of its poorest. Trade between the United States and Guatemala totaled $10.3 billion last year. Clothing, coffee and bananas were among Guatemala's biggest exports to the United States in 2011. Guatemala's biggest imports from the United States that year included oil and machinery.