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Cablegate: Congressman Smith Visits Peru to Discuss Free Trade

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DEPT FOR H (JOHN REDDY)
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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD ECON CODEL OVIP ELAB PGOV PE
SUBJECT: CONGRESSMAN SMITH VISITS PERU TO DISCUSS FREE TRADE
AGREEMENT

REF: STATE 161385

1. Congressman Adam Smith, Democrat from Washington, spent four days
in Lima, Peru,(Oct 1-5) talking with government and private sector
representatives about the potential impact of the Peru Trade
Promotion Agreement (PTPA) on both countries' economies, and the
state of current Peruvian labor laws, a bone of U.S. Congressional
contention. Upon departing, he said he had not decided how he would
vote, but he would try to make the case with his fellow Democrats.
He said his overall impression was quite positive, and that he was
impressed with the commitment by both the GOP and Peruvian civil
society to ensure that the country's economic growth translated into
a reduction of poverty. END SUMMARY.


PRO-GROWTH DEMOCRAT MEETS MINISTERS, BUSINESS
---------------------------------------------
2. Describing himself as "pro-growth Democrat" who also supports
strong labor rights, five-term Rep. Adam Smith (D, WA) spent four
full days (October 1-5) in Lima, Peru, talking with Peruvian
government officials, legislators, labor unions, large and small
business groups, farmers, and NGOs about the Peru Trade Promotion
Agreement (PTPA). He told his interlocutors that his principal
concerns were the economic impact on the U.S. and Peruvian
economies, as well as whether the PTPA would help reduce poverty and
redistribute some of the wealth generated by trade. Rep. Smith
urged GOP officials and business groups to contact Congressional
Democrats, including House Ways and Means Ranking Minority Member
Charles Rangel.

3. Upon departing, Rep. Smith, who is also a member of the House
International Affairs Committee (HIRC), said his overall impression
was positive. He noted that Peru was making progress on labor
rights and said he believed there was a broad commitment on the part
of the GOP and civil society to making progress. While telling his
interlocutors he had not made up his mind on the vote, he indicated
that he viewed the PTPA in a favorable light and that he would work
to persuade fellow Democrats to support the agreement.
Fortuitously, Peru is undergoing a complete review of its labor law,
and Rep. Smith urged key GOP officials, including the Foreign
Minister, the Trade Minister, the Labor Minister and the Agriculture
Minister to highlight and promote this fact before next month when
he expected the White House to send the PTPA implementation B:@

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