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May 12, 2007

Outline not guaranteed to be final deal

A detailed outline of the "deal" has been posted in Dem-speak at MyDD and in GOP-speak at USTR. Sources have told me that these were "de-classified" Thursday for the first time, after the press conference was held. They had circulated widely on the Hill on Friday.

It's important to emphasize that these are each party's description of the principles they say they think will go into a final deal. As I've written about here and elsewhere on the blog,

  • It doesn't mean that the final legal text that is still being held secret somewhere will reflect what most people would take from the spin on this outline.
  • It doesn't mean that these provisions, if they're made to mirror the spin in the outline, will not be in the form of "side letter" rather than the core text. Bush's people have said they might "skin this cat" in a variety of ways.
  • On a related point, it doesn't mean that the agreements will be re-opened and renegotiated.
  • It doesn't mean that Peru, Panama or any other country will accept the changes.
  • It doesn't guarantee that the outline provisions will make it into implementing legislation for these pacts at the end of the day. As past trade votes have shown, there are many many "bumps" along the way.

Some sources I trust say that they have reason to trust that all the parties trust each other that trustworthy reassurances have been made between Bush, senior Democrats and the Peruvian government that this outline will be the final outcome.  Okay. But then, we were also told during the election campaign that there would be no more Bush trade deals, and all the secrecy over the last few months do not inspire much confidence. And in any case, the outline provisions are not all that, as is described in some basic detail here. We will be going into excruciating detail on these points in the coming days.

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