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March 28, 2007

Future of NAFTA Expansion - via Global Trade Watch

Yesterday, the debate between House Democrats and the White House over the future of Bush's NAFTA-style trade policy moved into a very dangerous phase. Your activism is critical to ensure a fair trade victory. House Democratic trade leaders sent a proposal to the Bush administration listing problems they demanded be "fixed" in proposed NAFTA-expansion trade agreements with Peru, Panama, Colombia and Korea. The proposal included many important changes, but omitted other critical items - and now the Bush administration wants to negotiate down from what was tabled!

Please contact Congress immediately and remind them that "You rely on Congress to STOP Bush's NAFTA expansions." http://action.citizen.org/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=7106

Senior Democrats on the House committee in charge of trade have presented President Bush with a proposal for changes to the dangerously flawed Peru and Panama trade agreements, as well as addressing some of the many other problems with Bush's overall trade policy. Outrageously, the actual proposal remains secret, but a one page summary was presented to a Democratic Caucus meeting yesterday. Almost no Democratic House members have seen the full proposal and the Caucus has not had a chance to comment on it or approve it.

The good news is that thanks to your activism, the demands go well beyond just the fake labor fixes the Administration was proposing last month. The proposal calls for agreements actually including enforceable international labor and environmental standards in their core texts, as well as changes to protect port security and limit Big Pharma's ability to jack up medicine prices in poor countries.

While this is a major step in the right direction, it still leaves a lot to be desired before it or agreements with the demanded changes can be supported. The proposal does not call for changes to the agreements' bans on anti-off-shoring policy and Buy America laws, or the agreement's threats to prevailing wage and renewable energy and other common procurement-related policies. Other similarly critical issues were excluded.

Worse, now the administration wants to "negotiate" down what already is a proposal that does not adequately transform these deals away from the NAFTA model.

Read the statement from Public Citizen about the proposal.

Plus, instead of giving a "yes" or "no" answer by the imminent March 31 deadline imposed by Fast Track, the administration wants to drag out "negotiations" to water down even the modest demands.

We need to make sure Congress knows that we are watching this dangerous situation very closely. And, our representatives need to know that we expect them to either ensure the agreements are truly de-NAFTA-ized or they must be rejected.

Your action today is needed to inject some "Outside the Beltway" reality into this closed-door process. Please contact your representative today! http://action.citizen.org/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=7106

And please forward this email to your friends!

Thank you for taking action. We'll keep you apprised as the March 31st deadline approaches.

Global Trade Watch

PS. For more background on these negotiations, and the players involved, take a look at our February 26th action alert: http://action.citizen.org/content.jsp?content_KEY=2362&t=BlankTemplate.dwt

Posted by cat at 12:39 PM