Following Senate Approval of the U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement, Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, D-MD, released the following statement:
“I strongly believe that international trade must be both free and fair. I believe that free trade agreements (FTAs) must be a means to bolster labor standards and environmental protection and that the agreements must be based international standards. In the previous Congress, as the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, I worked to improve the negotiated agreement with
Peru to better enforce their labor and environment regulations. I met with then President Alejandro
Toledo several times and was impressed with his commitment to bolster economic ties between the U.S. and
“I was pleased with the bipartisan agreement that was reached between Congress and the Administration back in May which provided for labor and environmental provisions as integral facets of agreements. The resulting bill, H.R. 3688, requires Peru to incorporate and implement the International Labor Organization’s five core standards. These include the right to organize and collectively bargain, and prohibits forced and child labor, among other provisions. The agreement also stipulates that Peru adhere to international standards on endangered species, marine pollution while adding further regulations on illegal logging.
“We have worked hard to ensure that future FTA's reflect our commitment to better labor protections and improving environmental standards around the globe. American workers can compete with any other workers in the world, but the competition must be fair and enforcing that is largely a federal responsibility. I will continue working to see that these terms of trade are built into all agreements, just as we enforce intellectual property rights or tariff rates. The modifications made to the Peru agreement adequately address these concerns and that is why I supported passage of this bill today.”