Jordan Report Prompts Questioning of Panama & Peru Trade Deals

June, 01 2007 Share


Inside the Beltway, free trade deals like the ones recently negotiated by House leadership with Panama and Peru, almost always take place in the rarified atmosphere of abstraction and broad-sweeping generalities. Now the closed-door agreements are running into a barrage of serious questioning arising from the NLC's research on Jordan. After all, the U.S.-Jordan FTA was the first free trade agreement to incorporate worker rights language into the core of the treaty. However, this did not stop the U.S.-Jordan FTA, over the course of five years, from descending into human trafficking and guest workers being held under conditions of involuntary servitude. Words are often one thing and reality another. In countries where the Ministry of Labor is weak and dysfunctional, workers' right to organize suppressed, and civil society weak, words alone will not stop workers from being abused and exploited.

A much better approach is suggested in Robyn Blumner's article in The Salt Lake Tribune.  The Decent Working Conditions and Fair Competition Act, with 43 co-sponsors in the House and 9 in the Senate, would for the first time hold corporations legally accountable to respect fundamental worker rights standards.  This is something the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will never endorse--precisely because it would be effective, unlike the worker rights language in the trade deals for Peru and Panama.

Read Robyn Blumner's article

Find out more about The Decent Working Conditions and Fair Competition Act