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For Immediate Release: June 19th, 2008

Rep. Michael Michaud Introduces New TRADE Act

A new ‘fair trade’ bill, with sixty co-sponsors in the House and Senate, was introduced in Congress this week.The Trade Reform Accountability Development and Employment (TRADE) Act--introduced by Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Representative Mike Michaud of Maine, leaders in Congress’ Fair Trade Caucus--outlines possible new paths for U.S. trade policy. Click here to download a PDF of the House version of this bill.

The TRADE Act envisions a top-to-bottom review of U.S. trade commitments, calling on the General Accounting Office (GAO) to review existing trade deals by June 10, 2010.In particular, the agreements would be scrutinized for their adequacy with respect to labor and environmental standards.If found wanting, the Executive Branch would be required to renegotiate those agreements.

The bill also includes an ‘extreme makeover’ of the TPA/’fast-track’ process.It makes clear that “expedited consideration” of any trade agreement is contingent on the inclusion of labor and environment standards into the core text of any agreement.Further, the TRADE Act states that dispute resolution process for labor and environment standards must be “at least as effective as the mechanisms and penalties” as dispute resolution governing the commercial provisions of an agreement.

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