House Trade Working Group Members Respond to “Mock Markup” of U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement
WASHINGTON, DC-Members of the House Trade Working Group today released the following statements in response to the “mock markup” of the U.S-Peru Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by the House Ways and Means Committee. Under the rules of fast-track, the markup is nonbinding and the agreement cannot be amended. The U.S.-Peru FTA, which follows the same flawed model as NAFTA and CAFTA, has not had a formal hearing since the White House and Congress announced a deal on labor and environmental standards in May.
“I am extremely disappointed that there was no formal committee hearing on the Peru FTA before the markup today,” said Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME). “The last hearing on the Peru FTA 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 FTA before this critical House vote. I believe it is absolutely necessary to ensure the diversity of views about this legislation and its impact on the American people are heard.”
“Today’s mock markup was the equivalent of a preseason football game,” said Rep. Phil Hare (DIL). “Members showed up. A vote was taken. But in the end, none of it counted because fast-track relegates Congress to a mere observer in the trade negotiation process. The Peru FTA will now proceed to the floor without any chance for significant amendment. With good-paying American jobs at stake, I am disappointed Congress failed to sufficiently improve this flawed agreement before moving it forward.”
"It is sad to see yet another Bush-negotiated trade agreement move through the House with such limited opportunity for scrutiny and debate, especially considering the far-reaching consequences it will have for working families both here and abroad," said Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA). "The ugly reality of fast-track is that the American people have almost no chance to make sure these trade deals set up a fair playing field instead of just benefiting corporate fat cats.”
“When I see the job losses in Ohio caused by agreements such as NAFTA and CAFTA, I cannot support President Bush’s attempt to expand this flawed trade model to Peru,” said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH). “American workers and businesses—not to mention workers in Peru—deserve to be treated with more respect than having another NAFTA agreement forced upon them.”
"Everybody knows the global trading system is broken,” said Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH). “Last November, my constituents and the American people across the country cast their ballots seeking a new direction on trade. They are counting on this new Congress to fix this broken trading system so that it no longer leaves American workers and businesses at a disadvantage. The American people are counting on this Democratic majority to provide a trade model that will truly allow for fair competition, because we know that if given a fair playing field, we'll excel in the global marketplace. Unfortunately, passing the Peru Free Trade Act is not consistent with our responsibility as a Congress and it is not consistent with the needs of the people who elected us.”
"I expect no more from the U.S.-Peru FTA than what we got from NAFTA and CAFTA,” said Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI). “I have absolutely no confidence that this Administration will enforce provisions of this agreement. With no formal hearing on the fully negotiated U.S.-Peru FTA, the Ways and Means Committee is simply advancing a trade policy with no guarantees for American workers and businesses."