News Release

Peru Trade Deal

AP reports: “The House on Thursday approved a free trade agreement with Peru, the first under a Democratic majority in Congress that has declared that labor rights and the environment must be central parts of all such pacts.”

WENONAH HAUTER
Executive director of Food & Water Watch, Hauter said today: “Unfortunately, the passage of the Peru Free Trade Agreement will accelerate the importation of potentially unsafe food from Peru, especially seafood, without adequate import safety systems even to handle current imports. …

“The Peru FTA merely expands the flawed ‘free trade’ agriculture policies that have failed to deliver for U.S. farmers. The volume of U.S. agriculture exports has been flat but imports have been surging. The United States already has a large and growing agricultural trade deficit with Peru that reached nearly $400 million in 2006. Under the Peru agreement, U.S. farmers will face growing import competition from vegetable and fruit companies that relocate to Peru while Peruvian farmers are likely to be driven from their land by low-priced American exports of food staples.”
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DEBORAH JAMES
Director of international programs at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, James said today: “Many Republicans turned the discussions on the Peru FTA into a foreign policy debate, arguing that it was necessary for the U.S. Congress to approve the U.S.-Peru FTA in order to contain the influence of President Chávez of Venezuela. Even Secretary Rice jumped into the fray, making that argument in a rare foreign policy speech [that addressed trade]. Ironically, the exact opposite has been the case. The increased victories of left-leaning candidates at the polls in Latin America over the last several years reflect the public rejection of ‘Washington Consensus’ economic policies and the failure of the neoliberal model — which the Peru FTA codifies — to promote economic growth. While it’s shocking that the Democratic leadership would support this failed model, which has wreaked havoc on workers and farmers in the U.S. and Latin America, at least a majority of the majority had the sense to demand a sea change in U.S. trade policy.” James is a specialist in trade issues and Latin America, and speaks fluent Spanish.
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TOM LOUDON
The New York Times reports in a front-page piece today, “Trade Accord Causes a Split of Democrats,” that “the Democrats are riding high politically and getting sizable campaign contributions from the sectors that are benefiting the most from the global economy. These include financial services firms, computer chip makers and other high-tech manufacturers, the entertainment industry and farmers dependent on selling to markets overseas.”

Coordinator for the Alliance for Responsible Trade, Loudon said today: “The interests of the microchip companies, the mining companies, the financial sector and especially huge agribusiness are backing these corporate trade deals while the average citizen is quite skeptical of them.”

Loudon can also help arrange interviews with Peruvian Spanish speakers.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167.