Pelosi Statement on New Trade Policy Recognizing International Labor and Environmental Standards
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, Bush Administration officials, and bipartisan House and Senate leaders held a news conference this evening in the Capitol to announce a new bipartisan trade policy that incorporates internationally recognized labor and environmental standards in U.S. free trade agreements. Below are Pelosi's opening remarks and click here for a fact sheet on the new trade policy:
"Nearly 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy advanced a new trade policy that cemented Democrats as the party of free and fair trade. Today, we build on that tradition to announce a new bipartisan breakthrough for fair trade - where we expand opportunities for American businesses, workers and farmers.
"Our economic future rests upon our ability to open new markets for U.S. goods and services so that we can continue to capitalize upon the innovative spirit of the American people. We must also do much more to address the consequences of globalization and how many working families are faced with increased economic insecurity.
"Free trade must be fair trade. For that reason, the inclusion of basic, internationally recognized labor and environmental standards in our trade agreements have been long-standing Democratic priority.
"Enforceable labor standards ensure that our trading partners abide by the most fundamental standards of common decency and fairness - prohibitions against child and slave labor, protection from employment discrimination, and the right for workers to form a union.
"Similarly, protecting our planet is a core Democratic value and must be reflected in the core of our free trade agreements, not as a side agreement.
"Last November, Americans voted for a New Direction, and that includes a right direction on trade - where labor and environmental standards are at least as valued as our financial interests.
"Today marks a new day in trade policy so that we can raise living standards in the U.S. and abroad, expand markets, spur economic growth and uphold strong labor and environmental standards."