Barenberg Condemns U.S.-Peru Trade Agreement

Columbia Law School Professor Mark Barenberg Condemns Agreement, Says Labor Protections Lack Teeth

Press contact:
Erin St. John Kelly 212-854-1787 Cell: 646-284-8549
ekelly@law.columbia.edu

November 8, 2007 (NEW YORK) – Columbia Law School professor Mark Barenberg has released a report that condemns the free trade agreement that passed in House of Representatives today. A vote in the Senate is expected to follow in the next few weeks.

“It is important that the Peru Agreement not become a precedent for future trade agreements, especially, most immediately, the upcoming US - Colombia Agreement,” Barenberg said.

Professor Barenberg can be reached at 212-854-2260 or mb15@columbia.edu.

For the full report, click here.

Proponents of the Peru Agreement call it a model for fair globalization — advancing free trade while protecting worker rights and the environment. Barenberg disagrees. “On close inspection, the Agreement's labor provisions lack teeth,” he said. “There is no meaningful mechanism for continuous verification that Peru is complying with basic labor rights. It won't help real workers in real workplaces.”

There is a bright side for Barenberg. “At least we're finally having the long-postponed debate over the precise institutions that might be sufficient to protect social rights in the global economy,” he said.

His publications include: Democracy and Domination in Labor Law (1994); Labor Law and the New Global Economy (1997); Private Monitoring of Working Conditions in Global Supply Chains: Three Case Studies (2001-02); Enforcement of International Labor Rights in U.S. Law (2002); The Impact of the Free Trade Area of the Americas on Democratic Governance (2003).

He has also been a principal draftsperson of many federal, state, and local laws regulating labor conditions in companies supplying U.S. manufacturers and governments. He joined Columbia Law School in 1987.

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