Labor, Greens Denounce Trade Policy; Want Bush's Authority Curtailed

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Hirsch, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Labor and environment groups and their allies yesterday lashed out at the Bush administration's trade policy, criticizing both the administration's move to extend the president's trade-negotiating authority and its efforts to negotiate a free-trade agreement with South Korea.

The move came a day after business groups joined with the administration in pushing for renewal of "trade-promotion authority," which allows President Bush to submit trade agreements to Congress for an up-or-down vote without amendments.

Major business groups and the administration say extending the authority past June 30 is critical for the administration to be able to negotiate free-trade agreements.

The criticism came as the administration is trying to make progress in talks on a trade agreement with South Korea.

Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope told reporters that "TPA," often used to refer to trade promotion authority, stands for "trust the president always."

Bruce Raynor, president of Unite Here, a union representing hotel, apparel, food service and other workers, said the soaring U.S. trade deficit is "intimately linked" to failed U.S. trade policies and said the trade policies of recent years have been "a proven failure."

Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers, said it is "disgusting that Wall Street is making money on both ends of trade deals where plants are closing in America and moving to one of the trading partners. …