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United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, this is a great day. Tomorrow will be a great day, also. I have finally found a trade agreement I could agree with. And the reason why, for the first time, Members from both sides of the aisle have had a say in what that is. Article I, section 8 is alive and well.

I want to tell my friend from Texas, I'm sorry he left the floor, this is the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act. This is not the United States-Peru free trade. See, that got us into trouble. I want to just correct him that we have the right title because free trade is what got us into trouble. We need fair trade. That's what this legislation is all about.

So I rise in strong support of H.R. 3688. This is a bipartisan bill. This is a carefully crafted measure that deserves broad support.

There is not a single group that I have dealt with recently who hasn't said, and I have sat with all of them, at the very least that real progress has been made in the Peru deal. Even the most vociferous opponents, who may be in this room right now, of this trade deal state clearly that noticeable achievements have, indeed, occurred.

The new provisions on workers rights and the environment represents significant accomplishments in crucial areas. And for that, Mr. Rangel and Mr. Levin, Democratic leadership should be commended, and I salute you both.

You don't protect good-paying American jobs by freezing trade. You don't do it that way. You don't correct the imbalances in trade by stopping trade. For the first time in a trade agreement, we finally have fully enforceable obligations that require both FTA parties to adopt and effectively enforce core labor rights as stated in the 1998 ILO declaration.

By the way, my friends who oppose this legislation, take a look and put this in context. Since 1934, both parties have gone back and forth as to who believes in free trade more. Both parties. Neither party is privy to virtue on this issue of trade. Let's get that straight.

If you look back into the 1960s and 1970s, the same situation. Democrats were on this floor pointing fingers at the opposition saying: We need free trade. We need trade that is unbridled.

Check the record. Check the record.

And then we had just the opposite happen after Jimmy Carter became President. I believe that trade can yield broad benefits to many if done right. My belief is that trade agreements have been ill-conceived and crafted clearly not with the best interests of working families. I have voted against all of them. But this is a good one.

This trade agreement marks a significant step forward. The enemy of the good is the perfect. And while this trade agreement may not be perfect, and by the way no one on this floor is, no bill is. This is a good piece of legislation.

Mr. Chairman, I salute you. Mr. Ranking Member, I salute you. You've done a great job.


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