Oppose the Corporate Coup; Oppose Fast Track Authority

NAFTA is 20.
20 years ago on January 1, 1994, President Clinton signed NAFTA (North American Free Trade Area). Agreement proponents had declared that 170,000 American jobs would be created, exports of American farm products would increase, food prices would decrease, the American balance of trade would be improved. the Mexican economy would be uplifted to be a first class level of prosperity and more.

Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch's new report, NAFTA at 20, points to quite different results. Instead of job creation, we see one million US jobs lost; the lost jobs caused a downward pressure on American wages, thereby increasing inequality within the United States; food prices went up; the US balance of trade with both Mexico and Canada moved from small surplus' to deficits; American manufacturers moved their production south of the border (and later out of Mexico to China and now the new low wage nation of Vietnam); and many environmental and health laws have been challenged in private trade tribunals. The United States has become less food sustainable. Mexican immigration into the US doubled. Read the report yourself here. Listen to or watch Democracy Now! interview with Lori Wallach of Public Citizen on January 3rd, 2014 here. Click here for a list of investor suits challenging laws and regulations under various of these so-called "Free trade Agreements."

NAFTA to become the Trans Pacific Partnership

President Obama is engaged in a corporate lead effort to expand on the NAFTA model by negotiating a new corporate trade agreement called the Trans Pacific Partnership. This effort has been going on for over 4 years and he has just started the same process to cross the Atlantic. Both efforts have involved an extremely high level of secrecy except for the 600 corporate lobbyists who get to review, comment on and sometimes actually write the text.

In spite of the secrecy, we do know in part what will be included in the agreement and why we need to be opposed because some of the chapters (there are 29 chapters, only 5 of which deal with tradition trade issues like quotas and tariffs) have been leaked. Good information on what has been leaked and what that tells us was discussed at a recent forum at the First Unitarian Church. Video of that is available here. And please also visit the Alliance for Democracy webpages on the TPP here.

Defeat the TPP by defeating Fast Track Authority
Next week Congress will reconvene. One important order of business will be consideration of Fast Track Authority, requested by President Obama to grease the rails for quick passage of these agreements. The Obama administration is currently negotiating two such agreements, the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Trans Atlanta Free Trade Agreement.

We know that in all likelihood the Trans Pacific Partnership cannot be approved in Congress without Fast Track Authority. All of these so-called free trade agreements have only moved through Congress because Fast Track Authority was in effect at the time. Fast Track Authority gives away the Congressional responsibility to regulate trade among nations to the President, limits the time allowed for debate, and prevents any amendments to the agreement. More information on Fast Track Authority is available on the Alliance for Democracy website here.

We have been told that a bill authorizing Fast Track Authority for the next five years will be brought to Congress next week. Therefore, it is really important that we all call our US Representative and US Senators to demand that they vote NO on Fast Track Authority. So, yes, that is three phone calls. You don't have to be an expert on trade relations; you just need to say that you oppose Fast Track Authority for negotiating so-called free trade agreements and that you want them to vote NO when it come up

Phone numbers:
Senator Merkley - 503.326.3386
Senator Wyden - 503.326.7525
Rep Blumenauer - 503.231.2300
Rep Bonamici - 503.469.6010
Rep Schrader. - 503.557.1324

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