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United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act--Continued --

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


UNITED STATES-PERU TRADE PROMOTION AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACT--Continued -- (Senate - December 04, 2007)

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, today the Senate voted to approve H.R. 3688, the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act. In July of 2006, I opposed this agreement when it came before the Senate Finance Committee because it lacked enforceable labor standards--standards that Peru's President Alejandro Toledo indicated a willingness to support. What a difference a year makes. As a result of a landmark bipartisan agreement reached in May of this year, and for the first time ever in a free trade agreement, our agreement with Peru encompasses meaningful and enforceable labor and environmental protections.

The labor chapter of the agreement requires both the United States and Peru to adopt and maintain domestic laws to implement the five core standards incorporated in the 1998 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work: (1) the right to organize; (2) the right to bargain collectively; (3) prohibitions on forced labor; (4) protections for child labor; and (5) freedom from employment discrimination. The environmental chapter requires both the United States and Peru to adopt and maintain domestic laws to implement the obligations in seven multilateral environmental agreements to which both the United States and Peru are parties. I have long championed the inclusion of enforceable labor and environmental standards in free trade agreements, and I supported the agreement today because of these chapters. It is imperative that our trading partners be held to high labor and environmental standards, and I would not stand in support of this agreement had these provisions not been included.

The Peru Free Trade Agreement is a landmark achievement that makes these provisions fully enforceable--subjecting these provisions to the same dispute resolution system that applies to the commercial provisions of the agreement. I urge the President, along with the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, to hold Peru's government accountable to these provisions. By ensuring that these standards are fully enforced, the President can solidify this agreement with Peru as a model for dealing with future trading partners.

END


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