Washington: The United States has been advocating for higher wages in emerging market economies as better pay in countries like India and China helps prevent a drop in US wages, according to a senior US official.
"When wages rise in China, India, Brazil and elsewhere, it helps relieve downward pressure on American wages," US Labour Secretary Hilda Solis told the Labour Advisory Committee as low wages in emerging economies results in added pressure on the US.
"We have been engaging with the large emerging market economies - including China - to advocate for higher workers' wages, real collective bargaining rights, and safer working conditions. This helps foreign and American workers at the same time," Solis said.
US also has to ensure that its trading partners meet their commitments, including those related to labour standards, the official said.
"In today's inter-connected global economy, if workers in one country are denied their rights, workers rights in all countries are weakened. We want to ensure a level playing field for American workers while building a more prosperous global economy that benefits all workers."
The Obama Administration, she said, is committed to doubling US exports over the next five years. Increasing exports is a proven way to grow the economy and create more jobs. Exporting sectors also tend to pay higher wages and that is good for US workers.
"Another thing we can do to improve jobs and wages in America is to do all that we can to increase domestic consumption by the working households of our trading partners.
"If workers abroad earn more they can buy more of what they produce and what we produce. This expands our exports and also levels the playing field," she said.
US is working in partnership with other countries on programmes to eliminate the worst forms of child labour, she said. These projects target exploitive child labour in agriculture, mining, quarrying, seafood and shrimp processing sectors.