White House and Congress near deal on FTA with Peru

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US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez(LIP-jl) — United States President George W. Bush’s administration is nearing a deal with Congress on labor issues that have stalled the approval of free trade treaties with Peru, as well as with Panama and Colombia, said United States Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez.

"We’re close … We’re working extremely hard because we know how important these three agreements are. I’m hopeful that we can get on with this and do it as soon as we can. This makes a lot of sense for our country. It’s in our national interest to get these three free trade agreements approved," he said.

Despite feeling confident about the direction of talks between the Bush camp and U.S. Democrats, Gutierrez indicated U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab was still trying to hammer out a regarding labor issues.

U.S. Democrats are holding out to get three stipulations that include an enforceable commitment to abide by laws set forth by the International Labor Organization standards, such as freedom to organize and bargain collectively and regulation of child labor.

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U.S. Deputy Secretary of State in Peru (by LIP, 10 May, 2007)
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