A new deal for free trade

Dan Grech Mar 27, 2007


LISA NAPOLI: There’s a new trade initiative being unveiled today by Democrats on Capitol Hill. It’ll force the U.S. to consider environmental, labor and health issues when striking trade deals. But as Dan Grech reports from the Americas desk at WLRN, that just may stymie trade negotiations underway by Republicans.

DAN GRECH: Democrats have long pushed to include worker protections in U.S. trade deals.

Today they’re adding safeguards against logging and access to low-cost generic drugs to that list.

BRUCE STOKES: These issues have kind of come out of left field, literally.

That’s Bruce Stokes, a columnist with the National Journal. He says by adding these new requirements, Democrats could derail Bush’s trade agenda.

That could leave pending deals with Panama, Peru and Colombia dead in the water.

STOKES: This administration has no time left, no political energy left and no credibility left to actually push through any more of these. So whatever happens now is merely teeing things up or not teeing things up for the next administration.

Bush faces deadline this Saturday on the three Latin American trade deals. He needs to give Congress 90-day notice under fast-track authority, which expires by the end of June.

I’m Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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