What are the OAS, the Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor (IACML) and the Business Technical Advisory Committee on Labor Matters (CEATAL)?

The OAS is the world’s oldest regional organisation, dating back to the First International Conference of American States, held in Washington, D.C., from October 1889 to April 1890. Today, the OAS brings together all 35 independent states of the Americas and constitutes the main political, juridical, and social governmental forum in the hemisphere. In addition, it has granted permanent observer status to 69 states, as well as to the European Union (EU). The OAS uses a four-pronged approach to effectively implement its essential purposes, based on its main pillars: democracy, human rights, security, and development.

The IACML is one of the oldest sectoral conferences of the OAS. CEATAL is a permanent consultative body of the IACML that promotes the effective participation of the business organizations of all sub-regions of the hemisphere in the labour and social field. CEATAL gives technical advice on the planning and execution of programs that have a significant importance for entrepreneurs, or that involve their participation in economic and social development activities at national and international level.

CEATAL is composed by one representative of the business organizations of each of the member States of the OAS. Currently, CEATAL's Chair is Mr. Daniel Funes de Rioja, from the Unión Industrial Argentina (UIA), who was re-elected as Chair of CEATAL at the XX IACML held in Bridgetown, Barbados, in December 2017.

Why is the OAS IACML relevant to business?

CEATAL is officially recognized by the IACML of the OAS as a permanent advisory body and recognised business voice within the process of the OAS IACML.

Any OAS IACML declaration, priority, action and outcome can have an indirect or direct impact on national and regional policy discussions and regulatory frameworks, day-to-day management decisions and future business projects.

It is, therefore, of the utmost importance for CEATAL member federations to play a central role in leading, identifying, guiding and influencing policy and technical work of the OAS IACML so that needs and priorities of business of all sizes operating in different geographies, economic sectors and frameworks of the hemisphere are fully reflected in the OAS technical and policy work. The participation of CEATAL is also very important to balance the participation of the Trade Union Technical Advisory Council (COSATE), which can be very influential.

What is the IOE’s position on OAS IACML?

The IOE believes that the OAS IACML must take a renewed, balanced approach in its technical and policy work. It must take into account the needs and opportunities of sustainable business in the hemisphere, no matter the size, economic sector or geography where business is established or operates.

The IOE advocates, among others, for an OAS IACML focus on promoting:

  1. Productive development policies that are essential to generate high, sustained, inclusive and sustainable growth. These policies include areas such as sustainable enterprise development, support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), beneficial integration into value chains and increased productive linkages, cluster development, innovation policies and, in general, policies that lead to venturing into new industries, markets and value chains, as well as to promoting new productive paradigms associated with rapid technological change;
  2. Policies that encourage the transition from the informal to the formal economy based on an integrated approach (i.e., policy and regulatory changes to simplify procedures; records, taxes and procedures for registering workers in social security systems; policies to reduce perverse incentives that tend to prevent small enterprises from growing; and policies that strengthen labour administration and inspection);
  3. Investments in education and skills development in the Americas;
  4. Policies to foster entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education;
  5. Policies to respond to new and diverse forms of employment created by technological revolutions and new business models.

How does the IOE’s work in the OAS IACML advance the agenda for business?

The importance and influence of the IOE have increased due to the fact that it has acted for many years as the official Coordinator of CEATAL in all the IACML and OAS meetings and events, including the OAS General Assembly. IOE provides technical and political support to CEATAL in all meetings, workshops and publications, including the IACML. Also, the IOE participates actively in the various meetings and coordinates the joint work with COSATE. In its relations with the OAS IACML, the IOE’s member federations nominate employer representatives to become CEATAL authorities and participate in all the debates at the IAMCL.

Over the years, the IOE has built an excellent working relationship with the OAS IACML Secretariat.