We are building a broad, statewide coalition of diverse groups committed to advocacy for social, economic, and environmental justice in trade policy.
Join us to unite New York for fair trade!
Thank you to our NY legislators who have co-sponsored the TRADE Act!
- Rep. Gary Ackerman (NY 5)
- Rep. Michael Arcuri (NY 24)
- Rep. Timothy Bishop (NY 1)
- Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY 11)
- Rep. John Hall (NY 19)
- Rep. Maurice Hinchey (NY 22)
- Rep. Steve Israel (NY 2)
- Rep. Daniel Maffei (NY 25)
- Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY 8)
- Rep. Jose Serrano (NY 16)
- Rep. Louise Slaughter (NY 28)
- Rep. Paul Tonko (NY 21)
- Rep. Nydia Velazquez (NY 12)
New York Citizens Trade Campaign Leads Anti-Korea FTA Demonstration in Albany
US-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS): Bad Leftovers
Leftovers can often be a gamble. It’s even worse if they’ve been sitting out for three years, after being left behind by the last landlord.
President Bush and the Republic of Korea signed the KORUS Free Trade Agreement on June 30 2007. Because of concerns about an unlevel playing field on cars and catfish – on refrigerators and rice – on TV sets and shrimp, and a host of other issues, this FTA remains unresolved.
In fact, since Bush first pushed it, not one U.S. labor union, faith group, family farm organization or pro-environmental entity has yet to endorse or support the Korea FTA, or advocate for its passage.
Put simply, these old leftovers are not healthy.
The Korea FTA is an ending point for the previous administration, not a starting point for the new one.
Some of the problematic leftovers from NAFTA include . . .
Foreign Investor Rights: The investment chapter still affords foreign investors greater rights than those enjoyed by U.S. investors. Not one word was changed in the Korea FTAs’ foreign investor chapters that promote off-shoring, and subject our domestic environmental, zoning, health and other public interest policies to challenge by foreign investors in foreign tribunals. The Korea FTA also allows challenges by foreign investors in foreign tribunals of timber, mining, construction and other concession contracts with the U.S. federal government.
Food Safety Provisions: The amended text does not address limits on imported food safety and inspection. These FTAs still contain language requiring the United States to accept imported food that does not meet our safety standards.
Procurement Provisions: The Korea FTA procurement rules subject many common federal and state procurement policies to challenge in trade tribunals and directly forbid other common procurement policies. These procurement rules continue the NAFTA/CAFTA ban on anti-off-shoring and Buy America policies and expose U.S. renewable energy, recycled content and other environmental safety requirements to challenge.
Agriculture Provisions: The text does not address the problems in the NAFTA-style agriculture trade rules that have simultaneously undermined U.S. producers’ ability to earn a fair price for their crops at home and in the global market place. Multinational grain trading and food processing companies have made enormous profits while farmers on both ends have been hurt. Continuing this model is projected to increase hunger; illicit drug cultivation; undocumented migration; and continue the race to the bottom for commodity prices, pitting farmer against farmer and country against country to see who can produce food the cheapest, regardless of standards on labor, the environment or food safety.
Access to Medicines: While the amended text of these FTAs removes the most egregious, CAFTA-based, provisions limiting the access to affordable medicines, the text still includes NAFTA provisions that undermine the right to affordable medicines for poorer countries contained in the WTO’s Doha Declaration.
We are all eager to support trade agreements that benefit a majority of U.S. workers, farmers, small businesses and consumers. We all want to pass future trade agreements that work to achieve the larger societal goals of economic justice, poverty alleviation, healthy communities, pollution reduction, human rights and a sound environment.
The Korea FTA does not meet these goals. Please contact your elected officials to let them know you oppose the Korea US Free Trade Agreement.
A picture is worth a thousand free trade promises: Our “Beautiful” Trade Deficit- Think our trade policy is taking us in the right direction? Then you’ll probably think the following picture is no big deal. But for the rest of us, this is SCARY!
(Thanks to our partners at the Washington Fair Trade Coalition!)
What you need to know about the TPP
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a framework for trade negotiations with the Commonwealth of Australia, the Republics of Chile, Peru, Singapore, the State of Brunei, New Zealand and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. These proposed negotiations and the agreement that emerges will be the first manifestation of President Obama’s approach to international trade policy.
New York Citizens Trade Campaign is working to make sure the TPP negotiations proceed with attention to the following:
- Democracy Clause: The U.S. should not enter trade agreements with countries that don’t have democratic forms of government. Brunei is governed by a sultan and lacks a free press, and in Vietnam, the citizens are denied basic freedoms of speech and assembly and the right to change their government.
- Workers’ right to organize: We will support an agreement with binding obligations to protect the ILO’s core labor standards:
- Freedom of association and collective bargaining (#87 and #98);
- Elimination of forced and compulsory labor (#29 and #105);
- Abolition of child labor (#138 and #182); and
- Elimination of discrimination in employment (#100 and #111).
- Brunei is not a member of the International Labor Organization (ILO), has no legal foundation for collective bargaining, and criminalizes strikes. Similarly, as our Ambassador to Vietnam has reported, “[u]nions are subject to control by the communist party and have only limited independence, and workers are generally not free to join or form unions of their choosing.”
- Limited Foreign Investor Rights: Several FTAs give foreign investors the right to sue governments directly in foreign tribunals with the possibility of overturning any domestic law or regulation written to protect public safety or promote the public interest. The TPP agreement must include investment rules that:
- Preserve the ability of each country to regulate foreign investment in a manner consistent with its needs;
- Define a standard of minimum treatment to provide no greater legal rights than U.S. citizens possess under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution;
- Allow each country to restrict speculative capital to reduce global financial instability and trade volatility; and
- Provide for government-to-government dispute resolution relating to expropriation, and only for those disputes relating to a government action that permanently destroys all value of the real property of a foreign investor, to the exclusion of investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms.
- Protection of the environment: Sen. Obama explained to the Iowa Fair Trade Campaign, agreements must include “binding environmental standards so that companies from one country cannot gain an economic advantage by destroying the environment.” Working families around the world have been harmed by environmental degradation brought on by low-standard, 20th Century globalization and bad trade deals. The administration should assess current environmental governance in all seven countries, as well as the likely impact of the agreement.
- Food safety and family farms: America must bar the import of food products that do not meet our safety standards with respect to pesticides, inspections, packaging and labeling. We encourage the USTR to work closely with the U.S. Commissioner for Food and Drugs to assess whether TPP countries have quality standards as high as ours. If the TPP requires harmonization of food safety standards, those standards must be as stringent as those in the U.S.
- If the TPP includes agricultural provisions, the agreement must provide for, in each country, adequate and stable market returns for farmers, affordable supplies of safe food, the right to encourage conservation through crop production and management and ensure that agricultural workers are treated in accordance with core labor rights. Finally, the TPP should prohibit dumping of agricultural products onto world markets at prices below the cost of production.
- Government procurement programs in the public interest: The U.S. should enter TPP negotiations prepared to defend all federal, state and local infrastructure projects, renewable energy projects, recycled and domestic content rules and environmental safety regulations that would have been challenged under previous trade deals. This is essential given high unemployment and the administration’s commitment to restoring U.S. growth and economic leadership.
- No “fast-track” trade promotion authority: The Constitution invests exclusive authority to regulate commerce with foreign nations with our Congress. However, Congress has repeatedly granted the President “Fast Track” authority, abdicating its responsibility to negotiate trade agreements. Congress should heed Senator Obama’s response to the Pennsylvania Fair Trade Coalition’s questionnaire, “[t]he current Fast Track process does not give an adequate role to Congress in the selection and design of agreements. I will work with Congressional leaders to ensure that any new TPA (trade promotion) authority fix these basic failings and open up the process to the American people for their participation and scrutiny.”
We need your help to send a clear message from New York on future trade negotiations in the upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks.
By clicking the link above, you can shape these trade talks to reflect the Obama Promise on trade reform, and not the nightmare of NAFTA.
On June 14th, the U.S. and seven Asian and Latin American countries met in San Francisco for the first major trade talks under this new Administration. These meetings provide an opportunity to fix the failures of the past, and lay out a new framework for the future.
Fortunately, during his campaign, President Obama outlined a bold vision for trade reform. He committed to a new model for American agreements that would put working people, the environment, family farms and consumers first.
But we cannot be too optimistic, as TPP negotiations present both possibility and peril.
If multi-national corporations get their way, a future TPP will include the worst copy-cat clap-trap cloned provisions from NAFTA and CAFTA. This pro-status-quo language will mirror much of the proposed – and still not passed — trade language from past Bush negotiations with Colombia, Panama and Korea.
These failed attempts represent an ending point for the last administration, not a starting point for the new one.
We want to help President Obama craft new trade agreements that can last, rather than fighting against ones that look like the past.
That’s where you come in.
We need to make clear we need a new deal, or there’s no deal, when it comes to the TPP.
Write to your elected representatives and urge them to help support the President’s trade reform commitments. Ask them to demand a TPP that ditches the NAFTA model. Request that they use the TRADE Act as a roadmap to do it right this time.
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