K Street and Corporate lobbyists are turning up the heat on Congressional leaders to pass the Peru Free Trade Agreement, yet another trade policy that benefits only the bottom line of big corporations, at the expense of American workers.
Some Corporate Republicans and Corporate Democrats are sucumbing to the pressure of supporting the Peru Free Trade Agreement before the ink is even dry on the checks.
Obama Supports the Peru Free Trade Agreement
Barack Obama announced his support for President Bush’s bid to expand the North American Free Trade Agreement to Peru.
Yup – Obama is once again helping pass one of President Bush’s top priorities – even as Bush blocks the entire Democratic agenda and daily rains rhetorical abuse down on Democratic heads. Is this how Obama is going to negotiate in the White House?
I don’t know for sure if Obama honestly felt that the Peru Free Trade Agreement was, on balance, the right thing to do, or whether he just wanted to curry favor with the major corporations whose financial support is fueling his campaign. It’s probably a little of both.
Obama, along with the DLC, the pro business U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Bush, supports the Peru Free Trae Deal as reported in TomP’s diary: Obama Supports Peru Trade Pact that Unions and Many Progressives Oppose
Hillary Clinton is Silent on the Peru Free Trade Agreement
Hillary Clinton, who continues to accept federal lobbyist donations from multi-national corporations made a somewhat ambigous statement with regard to trade policies in early October: “It is time that we assess trade agreements every five years to make sure they are meeting their goals or make adjustments if they are not, and we should start with doing that with Nafta.” Yet, Hillary thus far, has failed to issue a formal statement on whether or not she will oppose the Peru Free Trade Agreement.
Hillary’s silence on the Peru Free Trade Agreement coupled with her partnerships with big corporations and ambigious statements, has left many wondering if her words are merely “coded language.”
However, Clinton doesn’t want her position to be fully understood by the majority of her American audience. Yet you may trust that leaders of the anti- social dumping movement in the European Union and organizers for globalized unions had no problem decoding her message.
Environmental Groups and Labor Unions Oppose the Peru FTA
Meanwhile, no labor unions have endorsed the Peru FTA. In fact, a number of environmental groups and key Unions oppose the Peru FTA. The AFL-CIO notes that in addition to the several issues of concern to working families, particularly with respect to investment, procurement and services, The Peru FTA “will likely impose economic hardship on some of the sizeable rural and poor population of Peru.” (AFL-CIO Legislative Alert:PDF)
Change To Win, which includes the Service Employees International Union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America and represents over 6 million workers, issued a statement urging Democratic leaders to “Vote No on Peru Free Trade Agreement NAFTA Expansion.
John Edwards Opposes Peru Free Trade Agreement
John Edwards, who holds the largest bloc of union member endorsements, opposes the expansion of the NAFTA model with the Peru trade deal. Edwards, who does not accept federal lobbyist donations, has called for measures that will benefit American workers and not just big corporations.
Today, the Edwards for President Campaign issued a Press Release detailing Senator Edwards’ opposition to the Peru Free Trade Agreement:
REJECTING THE PERU DEAL
George Bush is trying to expand the NAFTA approach to Peru, Panama, South Korea and Colombia. NAFTA was written by corporate interests and insiders in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, but workers have lost out, both American and Mexican. Under NAFTA, the U.S. has lost more than 1 million jobs, while average wages for Mexican manufacturing workers have fallen by 12 percent.
– Despite progress on labor and environmental standards, worker rights are no stronger than George Bush’s willingness to enforce them. He has proven his indifference to workers through seven years of inaction.
– Congress should not pass further trade deals without first taking steps to address the stagnant wages and insecurity caused by globalization. Congress needs to adopt universal health care, reform the tax code, strengthen unions, and expand and renew trade adjustment assistance.
– The four trade deals which have been proposed establish expansive investor rights that actually create incentives to further relocate U.S. jobs overseas, by compensating corporations if our environmental, health or even local zoning laws allegedly undermine their expected profits. They also unfairly allow foreign corporations to challenge many of our laws.
– The proposed deals even limit how we can spend our own tax dollars by banning many Buy America policies.
Edwards on Trade Policy
Time to End the Game
As Edwards has stated, “5 million jobs lost due to trade and 15 more may move off shore in upcoming years.” While wages of Americans workers have dropped, “corporate profits have doubled.” The system is rigged. It’s rigged against the American workers and the middle class.
It’s time to put the power of Washington back into the hands of the people.
Edwards is calling for an end to the corrupt Washington system and the influence large corporations bear on our legislation. He has stated, that the standard for trade policies should not be whether they will benefit the big corporate profits but “whether or not they benefit American workers and families. ”
CALLING FOR SMART TRADE POLICIES
John Edwards believes we need smarter trade policies that lift up American workers. He has proposed four principles to ensure that globalization works for everyone:
– Our trade deals and preferences must benefit American workers and communities, not just corporate bottom lines. This means that they must include strong labor and environmental standards and clearly prohibit illegal subsidies and currency manipulation.
– Our trade policies must lift up workers around the world. Making sure that all workers share in the gains from trade is the right thing to do economically, and it will make America safer and more secure.
– We must understand that “one size does not fit all” in trade agreements. Instead, we need to address differences in form of government, rule of law, state of economic development, and the day-to-day trade and business practices of our trading partners.
– Our trade deals must be fully and fairly enforced. Edwards will make top prosecutors at the Department of Justice responsible for enforcing trade agreements
We cannot trade Corporate Republicans for Corporate Democrats.