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United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KIND. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this Peruvian Trade Agreement. We know that it has been increasingly difficult to pass measures out of this Congress in a bipartisan fashion, and it is unfortunate. I still believe that this Congress functions best when you can work in a bipartisan manner.

The vote tomorrow on the Peruvian Trade Agreement will be different. It will be different because we are embarking upon a new historic template on these trade agreements, one that embodies core international labor standards and environmental standards for the very first time in these trade agreements, fully enforceable, like any other provision in the agreements.

This debate tonight isn't about whether the United States of America should remain positively engaged with other countries around the world, whether we should be trading. We are less than 4 percent of the world's population. Of course we have to trade.

Rather, the debate is what the rules of trade should be, and will we do everything we can to begin elevating standards upwards across the globe or to continue to see this race to the bottom for the lowest common denominator. With core labor standards and environmental standards in the body of the agreement, we are, for the first time, leveling the playing field for our workers so they can successfully compete in the global marketplace.

But I also believe that trade is more than just goods and products and services crossing borders. It is an important part of our diplomatic arsenal, because when goods and products do cross borders, I believe armies don't.

I commend the leadership of our committee, the leadership of our respective parties, and also the President and Susan Schwab, our USTR, for coming to agreement on this historic trade measure.

But there is one cautionary note I would give to the current administration and future administrations, and it is the best argument that the opposition has here tonight, and that is if administrations refuse to enforce these provisions, it will prove increasingly more difficult to pass future trade agreements out of this body and we will continue to lose the confidence of the American people.

Mr. Speaker, I encourage my colleagues to support the agreement.

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