Senate approves Peru Free Trade Agreement

The Senate shortly before 3 p.m. today voted 77-18 in favor of the U.S. Peru Free Trade Agreement. Earlier today and yesterday the Senate was debating the trade pact (HR 3688). On the floor, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) in his remarks blamed trade for just about every job loss over the past decade. He said that the citizenry doesn’t want free trade and the Peru pact should be voted down.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) spoke in support of the Peru FTA. He lauded the leadership for its Bipartisan Trade Deal, which requires all trade agreements to include provisions for enforceable labor and environmental standards. The Peru pact is the first FTA to include those provisions. He also noted that 90 percent of Peruvian goods already enter the U.S. duty-free, and that this agreement opens the Peru market to U.S. exports.

Baucus also said that the Peru agreement is only one step in the process and spoke in favor of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, up for reauthorization.

The Peru FTA was the first of four pending trade deals and easily cleared both the House and the Senate. That’s not necessarily the case with the Colombia and the Peru FTAs, which face stronger opposition. The Korea FTA, also awaiting Congress’ consideration, is opposed by some auto companies, among others.

Although all of these FTAs are flawed because they are loaded with non-trade related provisions, each is important for both economic and geopolitical reasons. See some of CEI’s publications and presentations on these issues.