Final AFTA Negotiations - Call Now
The Bush administration is closing in fast on a new NAFTA-style trade agreement with three countries in South America – Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Intense Bush administration pressure led to a terrible, two-way agreement with Peru in December. Now, this week’s negotiations could lock in the same mess with Colombia and Ecuador – making an Andean Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) NAFTA expansion that would then possibly be voted on this year.
The proposed AFTA is a cookie-cutter copy of the same failed NAFTA and CAFTA model – bad news for us and them, but Corporate America will love it. Unfortunately, there are several reasons why the proposed AFTA is much worse than anything we have seen before. That’s why we need to call Congress today!
When you reach your representative's office, ask to speak to the person who handles trade issues.
Tell them you think AFTA is a bad idea and ask them to send you a written statement of their position on it. Use some of the talking points below; if you have a local or personal story that shows the damage caused by a bad trade agreement, use it to illustrate your concerns.
AFTA Talking Points
* Assassination shouldn't be a union-busting tactic: Over 2,000 labor union activists have been assassinated in the last decade in Colombia. But even though Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo suggested including workers' rights in the pact, the Bush administration rejected that idea. Good jobs will be lost if companies engage in a race to the bottom in workers' rights.
* Agricultural rules could lead to more coca cultivation and strengthen terrorist organizations: Experts agree that if AFTA rules cover corn, rice and beans, that small farmers will turn towards growing coca to make cocaine for the drug trade or join armed groups. It isn’t worth creating more instability just so big corporations can make a couple of extra bucks.
*AFTA threatens the upper Amazon basin, the most biodiverse area on earth: AFTA’s investment rules could allow foreign investors to challenge environmental laws, a process which could chill future efforts to protect the environment. Furthermore, despite specific requests from the countries involved, the Bush administration has rejected protections for biodiversity and indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge. Ecological treasures shouldn’t be handed over to short-sighted corporate interests.
*AFTA's Intellectual Property Rules Put Profits Before Lives: AFTA rules could lead to price increases for pharmaceutical drugs, that could to lead to unnecessary deaths from complications related to HIV and AIDS and hundreds of thousands of people would see less access to essential medicines in the Andean countries. Drug companies shouldn't use trade rules to force up the costs of health care.
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After you've called, tell us what they said! Use the form below to let us know what the office tells you. This is critical to our ability to hold Congress accountable.