The following post was written by California Fair Trade Coalition Director, Tim Robertson. Take action today by calling your Representative and tell them NO on Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Korea, and Panama.
This week President Obama said he understood “the frustration” moving thousands of ordinary citizens to take to the streets of dozens of American cities. But that didn’t keep him from kicking them under the table by sending three pending NAFTA-style trade deals to Congress, despite his campaign promises to oppose them.
With a vote expected tomorrow, it’s up to activists from around the country to let their Members of Congress know that these pro-corporate deals cost jobs and marginalize the workers and the poor in all involved countries, while greasing the wheels for offshoring and further deregulating our financial services industry. The pacts, originally negotiated by President Bush, are expected to cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and we only have hours left to stop them.
When you hear the President speak of these deals, you’d think they were job a creating magic box that will restore the manufacturing sector and set us up for years of advantageous competition in Asia. Of course, when you look inside the box, you find that the U.S. International Trade Commission expects them to expand the trade deficit and cost hundreds of thousands of jobs in, you guessed it, the manufacturing sector.
This shouldn’t be too big of a surprise, as we’ve learned from NAFTA that not only do these types of deals eliminate working class jobs on both sides of the border, but they outline a broad swath of extraordinary corporate rights used to subjugate workers and the planet for profit. Free Trade is just one more mechanism that the 1% use to consolidate their power. And they’re trying to expand it right under our noses. Call 1-800-718-1008 to tell your Representative to vote NO.
These FTAs are about corporations vs. people, the CEOs vs. the workers, the 1% vs. the 99%.
Under the guise of “opening up markets,” free trade agreements like these are giant corporate handouts that enable job offshoring, deregulate financial services, and empower corporations to challenge public interest laws as basic as minimum wage and environmental protections. Get this, in order to receive restitution, corporation need only prove that domestic laws “expropriated” expected profits – you can’t make this stuff up.
Call now, 1-800-718-1008.
The very nature of free trade leads to a “race to the bottom” on regulatory issues, as producers seek the cheapest environments to make goods, and in the corporate world that means the place with the worst labor laws and environmental regulation. Many countries lower such standards to attract investment and corporations are more than happy to take advantage of the cheaper environment, frequently offshoring U.S. jobs.
No where is this more apparent than in Colombia. Since 1986, over 2800 trade unionists have been murdered in Colombia, often by corporate and/or state backed paramilitary groups. To this day, Colombia is the most dangerous country in the world to try to organize a union, with 51 union organizers murdered in 2010 alone, more than in the rest of the world combined.
In Panama, opaque banking laws and low corporate tax rates have made the country a tax haven, home to 400,000 registered corporations for a population of just 4 million. Many of these firms are just US shell corporations hiding money for tax purposes. And we want to deregulate financial services exchanges with this country?
In the South Korea deal, American pharmaceutical companies negotiated higher prices for medicines purchased by the Korean single-payer health care, threatening the viability the system. Meanwhile, US car companies are allowed to sell cars in Korea that don’t even meet Korean emission standards. And some would suggest that these deals improve public health and are good for the environment?
I don’t think so. By definition, these deals are for the benefit of those with the resources to move capital (or jobs) from one country to another. As the Occupy Wall Street protests are highlighting, that’s only 1%. Join the 99% by fighting back on these trade deals today, because literally, tomorrow is too late.
Call your Representative TODAY at 1-800-718-1008.