Saturday, February 07, 2009

Toward a new day for trade

In a letter sent to Congress on February 7, more than 350 organizations representing faith, family farm, labor, consumer, and environmental groups said they strongly support Senate and House action to “replace the failed trade policies of the past with those that deliver broadly shared benefits.”

“Hundreds of groups are now organizing, rolling up their sleeves, pushing for reform, including support for Buy American provisions in the stimulus package,” said Andy Gussert of the Citizens Trade Campaign, which organized the petition to Congress.

The four page letter summarizes the key issues facing decision by lawmakers and the Obama administration.; and specifically expresses opposition to harmful features contained in “hangover” Bush administration free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and Korea.

Among those objectionable features:

-- Foreign investor are granted rights that promote off-shoring and also subject U.S. domestic environmental, zoning, health, and other public interest polices to challenge by foreign investors in foreign tribunals.
-- Food-safety provisions would require the United States to limit import inspection and accept imported food that does not meet our domestic safety standards.
-- Procurement rules would hamstring many reasonable procurement practices of our federal, state, and local governments.

The worsening recession is distracting policymakers from the need to reform the U.S. foreign trade and investment policies. Forgotten is the role that our outmoded trade policies, and their failure to share their benefits more widely, play in fueling economic decline.

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1 comment:

nilocity said...

I wonder if there was any mention in that letter human rights and working standards in the production of goods?