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Act fast to stop Bush-negotiated FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS!

Three so-called free trade agreements left over from the Bush Administration are on the verge of being brought to the floor of the House of Representatives. We urge you to ask your members of Congress to firmly oppose attempts to bring these three pacts to votes until egregious shortcomings are addressed in meaningful, enforceable terms.

While the Obama administration has negotiated some improvements, the agreements still do not meet acceptable standards. As a longtime advocate of fair trade, ADA stands with the Members of Congress, as well as labor and environmental leaders, who have spoken out strongly against perpetuation of wrong-headed trade policies.

Use our Online Lobby Tools to Contact Your Representive about this now!

Why we oppose the 3 FTAs :

South Korea agreement (KORUS):

  • Would be largest free trade agreement since NAFTA. The Economic Policy Institute projects a loss of 159,000 jobs in first few years if ratified. Even U.S. government studies show it will increase the trade deficit and lead to a net loss of U.S. jobs.
  • Explicitly forbids reference to International Labor Organization conventions that establish recognized core labor standards for working conditions.
  • Permits up to 65% of content or parts of traded items (such as cars) to originate from a third country (like North Korea or China).

Colombia:

  • Remains the most dangerous country on earth to be a trade unionist. 51 union members or sympathizers were murdered there in 2010 - more than in the rest of the world combined.
  • Perpetrators of anti-union violence are not prosecuted.
  • The U.S. should not reward Columbia with a trade agreement while the nation's trade unionists are being routinely murdered!

Panama:

  • The FTA will not solve the most obvious problem: Panama provides a safe haven for corporations avoiding payment of U.S. taxes -- monies sorely needed to provide social services and rebuild infrastructure in this country!

Like NAFTA & CAFTA, all three pacts would allow foreign investors to bypass domestic courts and demand uncapped awards of money damages in their challenges of environmental and other public interest regulations.

More on Fair Trade

The Panama Trade Agreement

With 350,000 registered corporations, Panama is one of the top tax havens for companies that want to offshore and avoid paying taxes in the U.S. A Government Accountability Office study identified Panama as one of only a few countries – and our only current or prospective FTA trading partner – listed on all major tax-haven watchdog lists.

We do not need another trade deal that moves more of our companies overseas. The Senate Homeland Security Committee estimates that tax evasion in offshore havens costs our taxpayers $100 billion a year.

The TRADE Act

In the realm of trade policy, progressives have been limited largely to opposing bad trade legislation. However, that is no longer necessary. ADA urges the new Congress and Administration to enact the Trade Reform Accountability Development and Employment Act (TRADE Act), co-sponsored by Senator Sherrod Brown and Representative Michael Michaud. The TRADE Act redefines American trade policy to support fair trade principles, such as improving the living conditions of people in all nations, providing enforceable standards to protect workers and the environment, and adopting processes that are transparent and not subject to Presidential “fast track” authority.

ADA Resources:

Fast Facts:  The Panama Free-Trade Agreement

Related Issues:

Free Trade Area of the Americas No. 350

Jobs. Energy, Infrastructure No. 368

CAFTA No. 371

Global Trade 2006 No. 378

Fast Track/Presidential Trade Promotion Authority: Is This Democracy? No. 379

Topical Resolution: Fast Track: Is This Democracy? No. 380

Global Trade: Meeting Its Challenge, by Charles Craypo, Notre Dame Department of Economics

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