USA: Bush Administration & Democrats agree trade framework including labour standards & provisions allowing production of generic drugs during public health crises

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Article
11 May 2007

Agreement Reached on Trade Guidelines [USA]

Author: Jim Abrams, Associated Press

Congressional Democratic leaders announced Thursday that they had forged new trade policy guidelines with the administration that will elevate labor and environmental rights to key components in future free trade agreements... But a half-dozen House Democrats with strong labor ties...later expressed strong dissatisfaction... ``The strongest voices for workers and the environment were not included'' in the negotiations..., said Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio... Under the new policy, free trade agreement countries would be committed to adopting and enforcing laws that abide by basic international labor standards as outlined in a 1998 International Labor Organization declaration [Declaration on fundamental principles & rights at work]... Several business groups praised the new bipartisan approach to trade, [such as] Jim Owens, chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc., and co-chairman of the Business Roundtable's International Trade and Investment Task Force...

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Article
11 May 2007

Levi Strauss & Co. Applauds Bipartisan Agreement on Trade-Labor Policy

Author: Levi Strauss

Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&CO.) congratulates Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, Ranking Member Jim McCrery and U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab for reaching a positive agreement to ensure that strong labor standards are an integral part of free-trade agreements (FTAs).

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Article
11 May 2007

Path Is Cleared For Trade Deals - Agreement Makes Labor Rights Part Of U.S. Policy

Author: Peter S. Goodman & Lori Montgomery, Washington Post

Congressional Democrats...reached a deal with the White House yesterday, clearing the way for approval of trade pacts with Peru and Panama... The key to the agreement, said those involved, was the Bush administration's reluctant assent to Democratic demands for...enforceable labor provisions [to] be written into the texts of trade deals to protect the rights of workers abroad to organize unions and bargain collectively, while banning forced labor, child labor and workplace discrimination... [A trade agreement with] Colombia is...tougher, because about 400 labor union members have been murdered there in recent years, labor groups contend... Under the terms of the compromise, trading partners would be allowed to disregard drug patents in the event of a public health crisis, a worry for pharmaceutical companies.

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Article
11 May 2007

US Congress, government in trade standards deal

Author: AFP

The US Congress and the Bush administration reached what they said was a "historic" deal Thursday, on including provisions on labor and environmental standards in bilateral free-trade agreements... Senate Finance Committee Chairman Senator Max...Baucus's office said the deal would require pending free-trade agreements with Peru, Colombia, Panama and South Korea to include five core International Labor Organization (ILO) standards incorporated in the 1998 ILO Declaration... The US Chamber of Commerce welcomed the bipartisan deal, saying... "...we are encouraged by assurances that the labor provisions cannot be read to require compliance with ILO Conventions."

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