Peru FTA Vote Expected

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee approved of a Free Trade Agreement with Peru 12-7 in a procedural vote last Friday.

Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the committee, expects a full vote by September.

Senate Democrats unsuccessfully attempted to get an amendment approved that would require Peru to adopt International Labor Organization Standards. Grassley opposed the measure, saying it wasn’t necessary since Peru would already be obligated to enforce its own labor laws, which he believes reflect ILO standards.

But according to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, Peru is mired with labor problems:

"Employers, particularly multinational companies, appear to be able to flout trade union rights with impunity, repeatedly ignoring rulings by the labour courts and recommendations by the Ministry of Labour to recognize and negotiate with their workers’ unions."

In addition, some lawmakers have made the ridiculous claim that the struggle over the Peru FTA is a battle between the U.S. and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

”The agreement is a symbol of what other Latin American countries can achieve if they reject the demagogic policies of Mr. Chávez,” said Rep. Clay Shaw (R-Florida).

If NAFTA is any indicator, the only things Peruvians will achieve from an FTA with Washington is lower wages, a decimated agricultural sector, a loss of rights and loss of sovereignty.