Published on Internat. Herald Tribune/Business, by By Steven R. Weisman, May 10, 2007.
WASHINGTON: The Bush administration and the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, breaking a partisan impasse that had dragged on for months, were expected to reach agreement late Thursday on the rights of workers overseas to join labor unions. Both sides predicted that the agreement would clear the way for U.S. congressional approval of several pending trade agreements.
Democrats said the accord would be a major victory in their campaign to ensure that trade deals provided for the rights of workers to organize and that trading partner countries banned child labor and slave labor.
Details of the breakthrough were not available Thursday afternoon in Washington. The ramifications of the accord could go far beyond the countries affected – Panama, Peru and Colombia. All three countries have negotiated bilateral trade deals with the United States, but they have been held up for months by Democrats in Congress. (full text).