On the negotiating table
Food for thought on trade, inequality

Doggett speaks out, committees looking tight, more secrecy

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), a long-time environmental champion on the Ways and Means Committee, said he was "disappointed" with the Deathstar Deal's provisions on multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). According to Inside U.S. Trade:

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) said this week in an interview with Inside U.S. Trade that he was disappointed that the FTA template limits the improved environmental provisions to only seven MEAs, pointing out that there were no such limitations when the principles for future trade agreements were first unveiled by Democrats last March. Doggett also said he was disappointed that the provisions on logging were limited to Peru and did not extend to other FTAs.

Inside U.S. Trade also reports that the pending FTAs may have a hard time even in their committees of jurisdiction - the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees:

U.S. industry supporters of the bilateral free trade agreement with Peru have privately expressed fears that a vote in the trade committees could be tighter than expected when the deal comes up, according to informed sources. In the House Ways and Means Committee, they fear they could lose three or four Republican members ... In the Finance Committee, some supporters are worried that Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Kent Conrad (D-ND) may vote against the Peru FTA, these sources said. ... For example, Conrad has not taken a position on the Peru FTA but has had several tough exchanges with the administration on trade issues, including the draft implementing bill on Peru, a Senate aide said.

Musicman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) of Senate Finance is also apparently concerned that the extreme provisions requiring the government to whip pirate CD vendors with the pelts of baby seals may not be quite as extreme as in CAFTA. (Or some such thing. I wouldn't understand, it's a protectionist thing.) And finally, now even the timeline of the final legal text of the deal is being kept secret:

One lobbyist said that some House members believe the details of that deal will not be worked out before August recess, which would mean the Peru FTA could not be considered before then, as business had hoped. Both Rangel and Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Sander Levin (D-MI) have been avoiding any concrete timeline on when the work would be done.

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