Panama’s economy thrives on banking secrecy and money laundering. Its “comparative advantage” comes from the ease with which U.S. companies can create subsidiaries there to evade paying taxes in America. Passing the Panama FTA will only make offshoring our jobs easier.
George Bush negotiated this failed FTA, which reflects the ending point of the last administration’s trade policy, not the starting point for a new congress and administration.
Contact your representative today, and request opposition to the Panama FTA. Be sure to leave your home address and to ask for a written response.
Here are three ways to do so:
- Contact your Member of Congress by phone. Call 1-202-224-3121 and ask the capitol switchboard operator to connect you to your member’s office. Ask confidently to speak to the “Trade L.A.”, and then request that the member come out against the Panama trade deal as soon as possible. There’s a sample script below. Be sure to leave your address.
- Contact your Member of Congress over the internet. Visit our alert center to contact the officials that represent you. Use the sample message, personalize it, and be sure to ask for a written response letter.
- Contact your member by mail. Visit www.congress.org if you want to go old school, and send paper snail mail. Type in your zip code, click on representative, and go to the “contact” tab. Send a postcard or letter to the Washington D.C. postal address.
Subject: Oppose the Panama Trade Agreement
I am writing to urge you to oppose the Panama “Free” Trade Agreement. With 350,000 registered corporations, Panama is one of the top tax havens for companies that want to offshore to avoid paying taxes in the U.S. We do not need another trade deal that moves more of our companies overseas.
A Government Accountability Office study identified Panama as one of several countries – and our only current or prospective FTA partner – listed on all major tax-haven watchdog lists. The Senate Homeland Security Committee estimates that tax evasion in offshore havens costs our taxpayers $100 billion a year.
As a constituent, I strongly urge you to oppose the Panama FTA, and to do so right away. We should not be negotiating with a country that depends on banking secrecy for its trade advantage.
Please announce your opposition to the Panama FTA today, and please send me a letter saying you actively oppose this flawed trade agreement.
Talking Points: The Panama FTA isThe Wrong Place to Start
Panama’s Dirty Laundering
- The State Department and the Drug Enforcement Agency have consistently identified Panama’s financial sector as a conduit for Colombian and Mexican narco-trafficking funds.
- Panama has long been a key target of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and other tax transparency entities for resistance to international norms in combating tax evasion and money laundering.
- Panama is one of few countries that refused to sign any tax information exchange treaties. This international legal instrument allows for a standard exchange of tax-related information between countries, and helps to identify and catch tax cheats.
- Given the focus the G-20 Washington Summit and G-7 Finance Ministers have given to banking secrecy jurisdictions’ contribution to global economic instability, our first trade deal in this economic climate should not be with the top money-laundering country in the hemisphere.
Bad First Choice for a Trading Partner
- This hangover FTA reflects the unsuccessful ending point of the past administration’s trade policy. Despite improvements to the labor and environmental language made by House Democrats, it should not serve as the starting point for the new congress and administration.
- A majority of House Democrats voted against the similar Peru Trade Agreement. At a minimum, we should expect a majority of the majority should support future trade agreements that come up for vote.
- Not one U.S. labor union, faith organization, family farm organization or environmental group has yet to endorse the Panama FTA, or push for its passage.
- These organizations all understand American companies are closing down and setting up shop across the border to take advantage of tax havens, sub-standard wages and labor laws, off shoring loopholes and lax environmental regulations.
Need more information? Find background at http://www.citizenstrade.org/ctc/trade-policies/panama-free-trade-agreement/
Remember, trade exists to help people, not the other way around.