(House of Representatives - September 24, 2007)

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[Pages H10738-H10739]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the 
gentleman from Maine (Mr. Michaud) is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. MICHAUD. Mr. Speaker, on the eve of the Ways and Means Committee 
markup on the Peru free trade agreement, I rise tonight in strong 
opposition to the Peru free trade agreement.
  I am extremely disappointed there will be no formal committee hearing 
on the Peru free trade agreement. The last hearing for the Peru free 
trade agreement in the Ways and Means Committee was held in 2006.
  Given that the administration and leadership announced proposed 
changes to the trade model in May, I believe it is critical to have a 
full hearing on the Peru trade agreement. The diversity of viewpoints 
on the Peru FTA have not been significantly heard by Members. Many of 
the newly elected freshmen Members campaigned on a platform of ensuring 
a significant change of course from the Bush trade policy.
  The Peru free trade agreement is based on the same flawed NAFTA and 
CAFTA model that has been so devastating to industries across the 
  When I campaigned for my seat 5 years ago, the cornerstone of my 
campaign was fixing our broken trade policies. I have seen firsthand 
what they have done to the State of Maine. I firmly believe in order to 
address our trade imbalance, we have to change the trade model. The 
Peru FTA is the same old model with a little lipstick.
  There is overwhelming opposition to the agreement by unions, 
consumers, small business, and environmental groups. They are all 
asking Congress to oppose the Peru FTA.
  Who supports this deal? Big Business does. When Tom Donahue, 
president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, states that he is 
``encouraged by assurances that the labor provisions cannot be read to 
require compliance with ILO conventions,'' we should be very skeptical.
  While we have all heard that the Peru agreement text improves labor 
and environmental standards, we fail to hear that they are added upon 
the old NAFTA and CAFTA text. The bottom line: this is another Bush 
NAFTA expansion.
  Key unions are worried about the labor provisions. The new provisions 
require countries to adopt, maintain, and enforce only the terms of the 
ILO declaration on fundamental principles and rights at work. The new 
FTA language does not require signatories to meet the ILO conventions. 
These are the binding standards; the declarations are nonbinding. It is 
highly likely that changes in the environment and labor provisions will 
have no real effect on the ground.
  We all know that the Bush administration has a long record of not 
enforcing the standards of past trade deals.

[[Page H10739]]

Why would they start now? There are so many problems with the Peru FTA, 
whether it is the privatization of Social Security, ban on anti-
offshoring, or failure to protect our intellectual property rights, 
there are more than enough reasons to oppose the Peru FTA.
  I could go on, but I do not have the time. I ask my colleagues to 
really listen to what America is saying about these trade deals. I am 
asking Members to vote their conscience to oppose the Peru free trade