Trade News Update — July 24, 2006

Oman Deal Passes By Narrow Margin

Dear Fair Trade Supporter,

Thank you for all of your efforts to stop the misguided U.S. – Oman Free Trade Agreement (OFTA).

President Bush and the Republican leadership had planned to pass OFTA quietly and quickly in February as a gift to their friends in the oil industry and other corporate allies.

But because of your persistence, OFTA turned into one of the most heated fights in Congress this year and changed the debate about trade in this country.

OFTA passed by the narrow margin of 221-205 in the House of Representatives this past Thursday. But, the fight over the deal has had significant political and policy effect. This vote – on top of last year’s CAFTA vote – will have serious repercussions come election time in November. A number of candidates challenged their incumbent opponents to oppose the deal – but only 28 of 232 Republicans did so, while only 22 out of 202 Democrats supported the retrograde deal.

To win over the long term, it’s important to hold our representatives accountable for their votes.

So if you have a free moment, please make one last phone call: a quick one to thank your representative if he or she voted NO, or to express how upset you are if he or she voted YES.

Perhaps the best news to come out of this nail-biter vote is that the administration’s plan to send the U.S.-Peru and U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreements to Congress for a vote before the August congressional recess has been derailed. All of our work on the Oman FTA actually helps our friends in the Andean region avoid NAFTA expansion.[1]

Despite this good news, we won’t let down our guard on these deals – we’ll be sure to let you know what the administration is up to. The fight for a fairer and healthier global economy never stops.

Thank you again for keeping us going – and for all that you do.

Global Trade Watch

[1] “Senate, House Floor Action on Peru Seen as Doubtful Before Break,” Inside US Trade, July 21, 2006.

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