Trade News — Spring 2007


713 Organizations Say "NO" to Fast Track

Dear Fair Trade Supporter,

Like most Americans, you probably don't trust the Bush administration to have more authority over anything — much less the future of globalization! And you are not alone.

The man whose administration's theme song is Abuse of Power has asked Congress to grant him more of this extraordinary new Fast Track authority. Take action now!

Last week, 713 organizations — national and local labor, environmental, family farm, faith, civil rights, consumer and others — from every part of the country sent a letter urging the Democratic leadership in Congress "to take all possible actions to ensure that the Bush Administration is not provided with the authority to determine the direction and terms of our nation's engagement with the global economy."

Read the letter here (PDF), and the press release here.

Will you join your voice to the call for fair trade by contacting your representative and senators about making sure "Fast Track" trade negotiating authority is ended for good? Take action here:

We have a once-in-a-decade opportunity before us to turn around our disastrous trade policy! President Bush's grant of Fast Track authority — the undemocratic Nixon-era law that transfers Congress' constitutionally-mandated control over U.S. trade agreements to the White House — sunsets June 30, 2007.

The man whose administration's theme song is Abuse of Power has asked Congress to grant him more of this extraordinary new Fast Track authority. He's gearing up a campaign to try to squeeze the Democratic Congress. (For more information, see our previous e-mail action alert.)

The problem is not just Bush, but Fast Track itself. Fast Track lets presidents unilaterally pick the countries with which we will negotiate, set the agreements' terms, and even sign the agreement — all before Congress votes or the public has any say. This lets a few special interests call the shots, and then greases even the worst agreement through Congress — since Fast Track also bans all amendments, and forces votes even if the Democratic leadership does not want the agreement on the floor. Fast Track is how we got into NAFTA, CAFTA and the WTO.

The national sign-on letter sent last week conveys the strong opposition from the entire Democratic base to granting President Bush any more authority over trade policy. It also asks the new Democratic majority to ensure that no more Bush NAFTA/CAFTA type trade agreements move — including those proposed with Colombia, Peru, Panama and South Korea.

Our voices need to be heard ASAP, as the administration is using every sneaky tactic possible to try to revive its damaging trade agenda, despite the clear message you sent by electing so many new fair-trade champions to Congress.

If you haven't yet, now is the time to contact your representative and senators about fair trade! You can take action here:

Want to do more? Now is the best time to try to get some face-to-face time with your representative — as they are at home for their Spring District Work Period until April 15th. Ask for a meeting with them or show up at a town hall meeting! You can get some tips and talking points for meetings and bird-dogging on our website here:

Thank you for taking action!

Global Trade Watch

For more information about Fast Track, click here:

For more information about the Peru and Colombia trade deals, click here:

Activist Spotlight

José Schiffino is a union organizer in New York City. Between visits to home health care workers, he helps organize a series of community forums to make sure New Yorkers know their members of Congress could make or break our chances for making globalization fair. Read his story here.



GTW's Lori Wallach stars in a video about Fast Track, courtesy of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Check it out!


More Headlines from GTW

  • U.S. Congress: Still not sure that the 2006 elections were an important watermark for fair trade? Try this. 39 of the 42 freshman members of Congress have sent a letter (PDF) urging Democratic leadership to "offer meaningful alternatives to... job-killing trade agreements, such as CAFTA."
  • Colombia Scandal Deepens: The Boston Globe reported that the former campaign manager for Colombian president Uribe has been arrested for passing names of labor leaders to paramilitary death squads. The scandal continues to unfold in Colombia, leading the prominent Human Rights Watch to declare their opposition to the proposed U.S.-Colombia trade agreement.
  • Chiquita Trades Death for Bananas: Just in time for Congress to consider the Colombia trade deal, U.S.-based Chiquita Banana reached a $25 million settlement with the Justice Department over allegations that senior executives in the U.S. signed off on over $1 million in payments to right-wing death squads in Colombia to "protect" Chiquita operations. For more on the links between the paramilitaries and the FTA, see David Bacon's American Prospect article.
  • Hunger Strike as Bush Cuts Korea Deal: The Bush administration is trying to ram through one last trade deal before Fast Track expires - a deal with South Korea that would be the biggest trade agreement since NAFTA. The administration notified Congress of its intent to sign the deal even as 1,000 Koreans held a hunger strike and one Korean man attempted burn himself to death in front of the hotel where negotiators held last minute talks. Read more here.

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