TEXT CONCERNING CONGRESSIONAL OBSERVATION ON PERU’S FORESTRY POLICY
Thursday, 05 August 2010 18:09
TRADE NEWS: CHAIRMAN LEVIN, W&M MEMBERS RESPOND TO ANNOUNCEMENT ON PERU
The Honorable Sander M. Levin, Chairman
July 30, 2010
Chairman Levin, Ways and Means Members Respond to Obama Administration Announcement on Peru
Failure to meet deadline to implement Annex on Forest Sector Governance is “extremely troubling” WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander M. Levin (D-MI) and Ways and Means Members Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Linda Sanchez (D-CA) issued the following statements concerning today’s announcement by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) that Peru will fail to implement its obligations under the U.S. - Peru Free Trade Agreement Annex on Forest Sector Governance by the August 1st deadline.
“Today, the Obama Administration announced that Peru will fail to meet the August 1st deadline to fully implement its obligations under the free trade agreement’s (FTA) Annex on Forest Sector Governance and will be in breach of the agreement. This is extremely troubling.
“While Peru has made some progress in meeting its FTA environmental obligations, for example, creating a new Ministry of Environment, reforming its forestry oversight agency and revising its criminal laws to strengthen penalties for environmental crimes, significant work remains to be done.
“I urge Peru and the Obama Administration to quickly develop and make public a work plan with realistic deadlines for implementing Peru’s unmet FTA obligations. Meeting these obligations will require substantial work on the part of Peru and there are no shortcuts. For instance, Peru should not entertain “fast-tracking” the recently introduced Law on Forestry and Wildlife through its Congress.
“Breaching the Peru FTA’s environmental commitments is the same as breaching any other obligation under the trade pact. I hope Peru understands the seriousness of this situation and the potential ramifications if it fails to take the necessary steps to meet its obligations under the agreement.”
“It is most troubling that Peru has failed to achieve even its very modest environmental obligations. Unless Peru acts promptly to show a greater commitment with continued, demonstrable progress toward meeting these obligations, the Administration should initiate our dispute settlement rights under the Agreement.”
“Much of my support for the free trade agreement with Peru rests on its strong environmental provisions. These provisions are a core element of the agreement and ensure that our trade and environmental policies are mutually supportive, protecting Peru’s environment and economy from illegal logging, preserving jobs in the U.S. forestry sector, and preventing an environmental race to the bottom. I am deeply disappointed that Peru has yet to meet its obligations set forth under the agreement’s Annex on Forest Sector Governance and I urge the Government of Peru to fulfill its commitments with all deliberate speed.”
“Peru’s failure to meet the environmental obligations it agreed to in the U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement only highlights the need for strong, clear, enforceable commitments in our trade agreements. I applaud President Obama and Ambassador Kirk for their swift action to identify Peru's shortcomings and urge the Administration to work with Peru to ensure its full compliance with the Forestry Annex as soon as possible. I am hopeful this is a sign that our trade agreements will no longer be “suggestions” that allow a race to the bottom on labor and environmental standards, but will promote resource conservation and human dignity.”