labels: world trade organisation, trade
Bush administration, House Democrats reach accord on trade dealsnews
12 May 2007

Washington: 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 others.

The 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.

The 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.

Government 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 worldwide accord.

Washington''s 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.

Ms. Schwab said the accord announced Thursday would help in her 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.

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Bush administration, House Democrats reach accord on trade deals