The Bush administration reached agreement on Thursday
with the Democrats in the House of Representatives to
attach environmental and worker protections in several
pending trade accords. The agreement now clears the
way for early passage of some pacts between the United
States and some countries, and improves prospects for
agreement would guarantee workers the right to organize,
ban child labor and prohibit forced labor in trading-partner
countries. It would also require trading partners to
enforce environmental laws already on their books and
comply with several international environmental agreements.
agreement, apart from holding significance as the first
major bipartisan economic deal to emerge since Democrats
took control of Congress in January, also holds immediate
importance for four countries - Colombia, Panama, Peru
and South Korea - that are seeking to enter into trade
pacts with the US.
officials in Washington predicted that the agreement
would actually go beyond those countries and may become
a template for all trade deals, including a possible
top trade envoy, Ms. Susan C. Schwab, said that the
agreement would send a message that her country was
prepared to provide new impetus to the faltering talks
for a global trade accord.
Schwab said the accord announced Thursday would help
talks at the World Trade Organization aimed at reaching
an agreement opening barriers for farm goods, industrial
products and services. Those talks involve Brazil, India,
the United States and European countries.