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DOL News Release No. 04-1117-NAT
U.S. Department of Labor
Contact: Lisa Kruska
Phone: (202) 693-4676

Released Monday, June 21, 2004

The U.S. Department of Labor and The People's Republic of China Sign Four Joint Letters of Understanding
MSHA Assistant Secretary David D. Lauriski Signs Mine Safety Agreement with Chinese Counterparts

BEIJING - U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced the signing of four letters of understanding to broaden cooperation between the United States of America and China in the areas of labor, employment and workplace safety.

Officials from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MOLSS) of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) of the PRC participated in the signing ceremony. Secretary Chao's visit and the four signed agreements represent the U.S. Department of Labor's most comprehensive engagement with China on labor issues ever.

Observing the signing ceremonies with Secretary Chao today were Minister Zheng Silin, Minister of Labor and Social Security, People's Republic of China, and Administrator Wang Xianzheng, State Administration of Work Safety, People's Republic of China.

"The U.S. Labor Department is committed to working with its Chinese counterparts to share information and practices that will help ensure that the development of labor standards in China keep pace with China's rapid economic development," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "These agreements are the next step in the department's ongoing engagement with China and include collaboration on several important labor issues including mine safety, worker safety, wages and pensions."

David D. Lauriski, Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health, signed a letter of understanding with Lin Yisheng, Deputy Director General, Department of Foreign Affairs, State Administration of Work Safety of the PRC. Under the agreement, the agencies will broaden their cooperation in the areas of accident emergency response, the role of private insurance in the promotion of mine safety and health and the effective collection and analysis of mine safety and health data.

"This agreement will help the Chinese develop more effective mechanisms to protect the health and safety of Chinese mine workers," said Assistant Secretary David D. Lauriski. "Our mutually shared goal is to ensure that every miner returns home safely at the end of the day."

The four agreements signed broaden the ongoing cooperation between the U.S. Department of Labor and its counterparts in the People's Republic of China. Under these agreements, the agencies reaffirmed their common objectives to ensure economic growth, raise living standards and support widely shared prosperity, foster safe work environments and protect workers' rights in accordance with relevant international labor principles while fully respecting the national laws of both the United States and China.

The Department's earlier cooperative agreements with China include a $4.1 million grant to support the rule of law and a $2.3 million mine safety and health project.