INTERNATIONAL

Kerry for curbs on outsourcing

WASHINGTON, FEB. 26. Keeping the issue of outsourcing alive, Senator John Kerry has once again said that he would require American companies to give at least three months' warning to employees before sending their jobs overseas.

At a rally in Toledo, Ohio, he blamed the Bush administration for job losses in the country and in the State, which has lost an estimated 270,000 jobs over the last three years or since the time the Republicans took over the White House.

"Companies will no longer be able to surprise their workers with a pink slip instead of a pay cheque", he said. Mr. Kerry and his Democratic rival from North Carolina, John Edwards, are co-sponsors of a law in the Senate that would require companies to give a 90-day notification to their employees and spell out when, where and why jobs are moving out.

Mr. Kerry, who gets into the March 2 Super Tuesday battle which features 10 States, including big ones such as New York, Ohio and California, is getting ready to launch a series of campaign advertisements attacking the Bush administration's economic policies calling them an "astonishing failure" and ones that will promise that the Democratic front-runner will do everything to protect American jobs. The Massachusetts Senator has taken yet another swipe at the comments of the President's top economic advisor, Gregory Mankiw, who said two weeks ago that the shifting of American jobs overseas was "just a way of doing international trade" and that it could even be beneficial to the American economy in the long term. Mr. Kerry used this statement to make the point that this Republican administration has lavished favours on corporate America at the expense of the workers.

"Under this administration, America's middle class has been abandoned, its dream denied, its Main Street interests ignored and its mainstream values scorned — a White House that puts privilege first", Mr. Kerry said

Mr. Kerry has been under some pressure even within the Democratic contenders for the party nomination for his vote on the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1993. And to partly offset the criticism, Mr. Kerry has said he would review all free trade accords in the first four months of office; and that he would not sign the Central American Free Trade Agreement unless there was protection for labour and environmental standards.