Corporate Wingnuts A-OK with Trade Deal
by Matt Stoller, Thu May 10, 2007 at 04:40:49 PM EDT
Oh dear. Tom Donahue of the US Chamber of Commerce and Frank Vargo of the National Association of Manufacturer's have just given their blessing to the trade deal because of its weak labor language. Update: Now the Business Roundtable is adding its praise.
The US Chamber of Commerce welcomed the bipartisan deal, saying it would secure support for Congressional approval of the four pending bilateral trade agreements.
"It is our hope that this deal can pave the way for a solid majority of members to vote in favor of renewing trade promotion authority and passage of bilateral agreements with Peru, Colombia, Panama, and Korea," said Tom Donohue, president and chief executive of the world's largest business federation.
"Over the course of these negotiations, legitimate concerns have been expressed about how addressing labor issues in trade agreements could affect US federal and state labor laws," he said.
"However, we are encouraged by assurances that the labor provisions cannot be read to require compliance with ILO Conventions."
Frank Vargo, vice president of international economic affairs at the National Association of Manufacturers, cautiously welcomed the agreement.
"We are encouraged by the progress announced today, but reserve comment on the final package until we have had an opportunity to examine the details," he said.
Donahue and Vargo are representatives of the infamous 'Gang of Six' business lobbies that are aggressively right-wing, paranoid and extreme. This is really really bad.
Sirota has more.
Update [2007-5-10 20:50:58 by Matt Stoller]:: Here's the key deal-breaker from Donahue: "However, we are encouraged by assurances that the labor provisions cannot be read to require compliance with ILO Conventions."
The whole point of this deal is that it includes ILO standards. Baucus and Rangel look like fools.
Update [2007-5-10 21:9:43 by Matt Stoller]:: Ok, it keeps getting worse.
But a half-dozen House Democrats with strong labor ties, watching the news conference from the back of the room, later expressed strong dissatisfaction with the process.
"The strongest voices for workers and the environment were not included" in the negotiations and were not informed of the deal, said Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio.
"I'm very disappointed that Speaker Pelosi held a press conference before meeting with the caucus," said Rep. Michael Michaud, D-Maine. "In a democratic process Democrats ought to know."
This is literally a repeat of NAFTA. Kaptur is one of the good ones.