No Iraq Withdrawal Timetable, But a Corporate Trade Deal for Peru?

What's worse than a "do-nothing" Democratic Congress?

A Democratic Congress that can't deliver a timetable for Iraq withdrawal for its anti-war base, but wants to deliver a corporate trade deal for Wall Street.

Some Democratic leaders are trying to pass a trade agreement with Peru that would give U.S. oil companies powerful new rights to exploit Peru's Amazonian rainforest. It would also give Citibank the right to sue Peru if the country tries to reverse the failed privatization of its Social Security system.

Indigenous leaders in Peru have rejected the agreement.

This agreement was negotiated by the Bush administration on the same principles as NAFTA. Why would the Democratic Congress make its passage a priority?

Ask your Senators and Representative to oppose H.R. 3688, the "Peru Free Trade Agreement."

Since the 1990s and the passage of NAFTA, so-called "free trade" agreements have undermined the ability of governments to raise labor, environmental, health and safety standards that are opposed by multinational corporations.

Last November, the Democrats won a majority in both the House and Senate in part because many candidates ran on "fair trade" platforms - meaning they said they would oppose trade agreements that lower labor and environmental standards and undermine efforts to raise standards.

Despite this mandate, in May, some Democratic leaders announced a trade "deal" with the Bush administration. These Democrats would vote for NAFTA-type trade agreements in exchange for purported labor and environmental standards that wouldn't fix many of the worst effects of these agreements. For example, the Peru trade agreement would force Peruvians to accept foreign exploitation of their rainforest and privatization of their Social Security.

The effort to pass the "Peru-US Free Trade Agreement" is their first attempt to follow through with this "deal." If this effort succeeds, it will set a very bad precedent for the future. If, conversely, we can stop the Peru agreement from passing Congress, it will raise the bar for future agreements.