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Oppose Peru and Panamanian Free Trade Agreements

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


OPPOSE PERU AND PANAMANIAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS -- (House of Representatives - September 17, 2007)

[Page: H10413]

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The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hare) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. HARE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the pending Peru and Panama free trade agreements. Over 3 million American manufacturing jobs, one out of every six jobs, have been lost during the fast-track era. How many more manufacturing jobs will be lost with the passage of these two trade deals? How many more?

My district in particular has suffered the loss of 1,600 jobs when NAFTA forced Maytag to leave Galesburg, Illinois, for Sonora, Mexico. Every aspect of that town was hurt: its spirit, the

[Page: H10414]

economy, the schools, and the small businesses that supplied goods to Maytag.

Now Galesburg is trying to rebuild its identity.

The November 2006 election showed that most Americans understand our past trade policies, which gave us NAFTA and the WTO, have failed; yet President Bush continues to bring more flawed trade agreements to this Congress.

Mr. Speaker, on May 10, Chairman Rangel of the Ways and Means Committee reached a landmark deal with the Bush administration to include labor and environmental protection in free trade agreements. The deal requires our trading partners to adopt, maintain and enforce in their laws and practice the five basic international labor standards: freedom of association, right to collective bargaining, elimination of forced labor, abolition of child labor, and elimination of discrimination.

As positive as this deal was, I have absolutely no faith that this President will enforce any labor provisions included in any trade deal. In a statement released on May 11, AFL-CIO president John Sweeney reminded us of the Bush administration's enforcement failure in past agreements by saying, ``The Bush administration's consistent unwillingness to enforce trade violations against nations like Jordan and China reminds us that there is no guarantee that this executive branch will enforce any new rights workers may gain through these negotiations.''

This administration can't even enforce OSHA regulations here at home. How can we expect this President and this administration to enforce laws in these two countries? Recently, I received a letter from two Peruvian labor federations concerned about the labor provisions in the pending FTA between the United States and Peru. In reference to the May 10 announcement, the letter states, ``These changes are important. Nevertheless, in order for there to be real progress that does not only exist on paper, it is necessary that the administrations of President Bush and Garcia adopt significant change that they do not appear willing to do.''

Mr. Speaker, no one seems to have faith in this President or the Peruvian Government to enforce the law. The problem is that those who support the FTA in Peru are the same people that oppose labor reform in Peru.

Mr. Speaker, our trade policies must start to serve the interests of American working families and workers around the globe. I urge all of my colleagues, Republicans and Democrats alike, to say ``no'' to President Bush's trade agreement with Peru. We have a moral responsibility to save the manufacturing jobs that this Nation has lost and to try to regain those jobs that we have outsourced.


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