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John Edwards Announces Opposition to the Peru FTA

John Edwards announced Saturday in Newton, Iowa his opposition to NAFTA expansion trade policies and specifically to Bush's NAFTA expansion to Peru, which will likely be up for a vote next week in the U.S. House of Representatives. Here's what the campaign had to say:

"I grew up in Carolina mill towns and so I've seen firsthand the devastating impact trade can have on workers and communities," said Edwards. "Presidents from both parties have entered into trade agreements like NAFTA and the WTO promising that they would create new jobs. Instead, in recent years we've lost millions of manufacturing jobs, seen wages stagnate, and run up larger and larger trade deficits.

This comes after an August 4th speech on trade policy:

And from today's Financial Times:

[Edwards'] opposition to the Peru deal will be a setback for congressional Democrats who are trying to build a strong majority behind the agreement on Capitol Hill...

"In short, this agreement does not meet my standard of putting American workers and communities first, ahead of the interests of the big multinational corporations, which for too long have rigged our trade policies for themselves."

The criticism was welcomed by the deal's opponents, who include the heads of Peru's labour movement and Pedro Barretto, the country's archbishop.

Mr Edwards singled out "provisions that could allow US banks to demand compensation if Peru reverses its disastrous social security privatisation".

He also offered a broader critique of the US approach to negotiating trade deals modelled on the North American Free Trade Agreement. "All of these agreements provide the expansive investor rights that literally create incentives to relocate US jobs overseas," he said.

Edwards, pulling no punches, also takes on Stephen Colbert as a corporate candidate:

"Stephen Colbert claims to represent a new kind of politics, but today we see he's participating in the slash and burn politics that has no place in American discourse. The truthiness is, as the candidate of Doritos, Colbert's hands are stained by corporate corruption and nacho cheese. John Edwards has never taken a dime from salty food lobbyists and America deserves a President who isn't in the pocket of the snack food special interests."

Also, a great post at Daily Kos outlines everyone's positions (other candidates, labor, etc.) on the Peru FTA.

(Disclosure: Global Trade Watch has no preference among the candidates.)

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