Trade Principles Released by Democratic Ways and Means Leaders Are Positive Step But Don’t Address Key Problems

March 27, 2007

Trade Principles Released by Democratic Ways and Means Leaders Are Positive Step But Don’t Address Key Problems

Statement of Lori M. Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch Division 

Trying to ameliorate the problems in a Bush trade agreement is no small task, and based on the available summary, the proposal released today by Democratic Ways and Means leaders takes important steps toward that goal by demanding changes to some of the worst aspects of the Peru and Panama Free Trade Agreements. However, the proposal excludes several serious problems that also must be remedied regarding the pacts’ procurement rules’ threat to prevailing wage laws and bans on Buy America and anti-offshoring laws as well as a provision requiring Peru to open its social security system to foreign private investment. 

In the future, we hope that Democrats won’t be put in the position of trying to limit the damage of completed Bush NAFTA-style trade deals. Given the American public’s distrust of this administration and concern over giving it more authority, coupled with the Democratic base’s fierce opposition to Fast Track, what prospect is there that a Democratic majority would grant President Bush a new Fast Track authority?

The full proposal that will be sent to the Bush administration has not yet been released. A summary of the proposal was presented at a Democratic Caucus meeting today, but members did not have an opportunity to discuss the proposal at the meeting, as the session moved quickly to other business after the presentation was concluded.

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