Friday, June 19, 2009

Please Read and Act:

Write to urge your representative to sign on as an original co-sponsor
to the TRADE Act: <>


Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME) is set to reintroduce the Trade Reform,
Accountability, Development and Employment (TRADE) Act. The TRADE Act
was first introduced last year as a way to offer an alternative to
current U.S. trade policy. Rep. Michaud is asking his colleagues to
sign on as an original co-sponsor.


U.S. trade policy is often guided by narrow national self-interest,
which translates into seeking the interests of U.S.-based capital,
corporations and agribusinesses. This has had a detrimental impact on
poor communities all over the world. Millions of family farmers have
lost their livelihoods, their lands and have been forced to migrate.
Trade policies must work to advance the common good rather than the
interests of a few.

The TRADE Act is a step in the right direction. If passed it would:

Evaluate existing free trade agreements (FTAs). The Act would require
a public report assessing the impacts of the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA) and the Central American Free Trade Agreement
(CAFTA) on signatory countries' employment and wage levels, access to
health care and water, cost of essential medicines, and compliance
with labor and environmental standards, among other criteria.

Renegotiate existing FTAs. The texts of NAFTA and CAFTA would have to
be transformed so as to meet explicitly outlined requirements. Among
other changes, the renegotiated FTAs would have to:

* Allow all signatory governments to take measures against
agricultural dumping so as to ensure income stability for small-scale
* Require signatory governments to actually enforce core labor,
environmental, and human rights standards
* Revamp any intellectual property provisions that tend to
increase the cost of essential medicines in signatory countries
* Delete all requirements to privatize or deregulate key services
such as health care, education, or water
* Eliminate the investor-state dispute resolution process in which
corporations can sue governments for laws construed as barriers to
trade (i.e. NAFTA's Chapter 11)

Impose a moratorium on future FTAs. The Act would require that the
President submit to Congress a plan to renegotiate existing FTAs at
least three months before the negotiation or implementation of any new
FTA. This prerequisite of renegotiation spells an effective
moratorium on further FTAs.

Abolish Fast Track. The Act would discard the anti-democratic Fast
Track provisions that currently restrict Congressional debate and
amendments on trade agreements. In its place, the Act prescribes a
more democratic process that would bolster Congressional oversight of
any future trade deals.

Write to urge your representative to sign on as an original co-sponsor
to the TRADE Act:

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