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Congress Ready to Approve FT Agreements


WASHINGTON, DC
Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The House and Senate will take their final votes today and likely approve trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama – after nearly five years of negotiations over the pacts.
Yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee approved the measures in a mark-up, while the House began debate on the three trade agreements last night.
The trade bills have been hung up over differences between the Bush and Obama Administrations and Congressional Democrats and Republicans over worker rights and safety in Colombia, and concerns over U.S. workers who might lose their jobs as a result of less-expensive goods from the trading nations.

December 03, 2007

Liveblogging the Peru FTA Senate vote

5:35pm: I’m out.
5:18 pm: Sanders conceding that NAFTA has been good for some Mexicans… well, one. Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man.
5:14 pm: “If you like NAFTA, you’ll love the Peru FTA. Most people in America don’t like NAFTA.”
5:10 pm: Once you’ve been in DC a few years, it really is amazing how rarely you hear members talk about class and inequality in America – something that, after getting back from Chicago where my brother lives, most people in America are comfortable talking about. Sanders is not afraid of going there. Now, he’s citing IIE and CEPR studies that document the inequality…
5:06 pm: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), fair trade champion, bringing the pain on Peru FTA, leading off with unsafe imports
5:01 pm: By way of a little advance warning, I am probably going to head home within the next hour (got stuck overnight in Chicago last night, am fighting a cold… did I mention that airport contracted illnesses skyrocketed after NAFTA??!! We need a change in this trade model!), but if people want to liveblog it post 5:30 pm or so in the comment section, you can follow the awesome display of senatorial argumentation at C-Span 2 at this link.
4:50 pm: Grassley is taking on the argument that the Peru FTA will worsen our food safety laws… we wrote a report on this. He argues that there hasn’t yet been a challenge of U.S. food safety laws. This is a complex debate, but the WTO challenge of EU’s food safety regime is case one that it could happen. If we ever GET some good food safety laws, you can bet this could happen to us under the WTO, NAFTA and Peru FTA laws. The Peru FTA opens up our current food safety laws – low as they are – to claims for compenstation from corporations.
4:43 pm: Okay, we don’t work on Venezuela here, but the stuff that gets said about the country is ridiculous. If possible, the media misrepresentations of what goes on there rival or exceed what is said about trade policy. In particular, the proposal to have MORE elections, institute gay rights and other measures is commonly described as some sort of attempt to abolish democracy. Well, that measure was voted down democratically today, and the government is respecting the result. For more on that situation, check out an insightful and funny blog at www.BoRev.Net. A more academic take is here. Nevetheless, as we argue here, the best way to avoid more Chavez’s – if that’s the goal – is to avoid contributing to economic misery and displacement abroad. Last time I checked, that’s how populism succeeds…
4:40 pm: Grassley admits that the FTA will lock-in policies in Peru that current neo-liberal governments passed but which future governments will be bound to.
The Obama Administration renegotiated portions of the Colombia deal and Congress has agreed to pass an aid program for displaced workers called Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) along with the trade agreements.  The Senate has already passed TAA.
Please go to the c-span link to watch the Senators in Action
If the House and Senate pass the bills today and the House approves TAA, the trade agreement with South Korea would be in place when that country’s President meets with President Obama and addresses a joint meeting of Congress tomorrow.more from c-span

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