Action Alert — June 5, 2007

Democratic Leaders Get Earful, But Trade Deal Texts Still Secret: Take Action!

Fair traders in Congress are up in arms. They've forced a debate over the backroom deal to revive Bush's NAFTA expansions. But they need your help to kill it. Contact Congress today!

Dear Fair Trade Supporter,

No one was singing Kumbaya at the most recent meeting of the Democratic Caucus, the weekly meeting for all Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Thanks in part to your letters and phone calls about the secret trade deal, there were so many angry Democrats lined up to speak that Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the Clinton-era NAFTA czar who ran the meeting, had to promise to hold yet another Caucus session to allow more folks to express their views.[1]

We have a very short time to derail this crazy deal. Your voice is critical. Take action today!

It's not surprising that this deal is so unpopular with the Democratic Caucus. Since we last wrote to you, not a single labor, environmental, consumer, religious, public health, small business or family farm organization has endorsed this "Death Star" trade deal (PDF) that was announced on May 10th. Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce and other Big Business groups are celebrating the "deal" because it would facilitate more Bush NAFTA expansion agreements.[2]

How did we get into this unbelievable mess? A "deal" to add labor and environmental standards to pending NAFTA-CAFTA style Bush trade agreements was negotiated in secret by a handful of Democrats with the Bush administration. To this day, no one has seen the legal text of the changes to the Bush trade agreements. An official outline of the deal was released, however, so we know what is NOT covered — that would be 80% of what was demanded by labor, environmental, small business and family farm groups as necessary to deNAFTAize the Bush deals.[3]

Think of our current trade policy as a train heading for a cliff. The deal is like attaching one new engine (labor and environmental standards) heading in the direction away from the cliff to a string of 20 engines — the NAFTA-CAFTA model — going full steam towards the cliff!

It's especially galling that the legal texts of the proposed changes are being kept secret. While opponents of more NAFTAs wait for the texts, the boosters of this "deal" are out building support for their slippery slope to more NAFTA expansion — or, heaven forbid, more Fast Track trade negotiating authority for President Bush.

Take action to stop the secret trade "deal"!

Yours in struggle,

Global Trade Watch

p.s. For an up-to-the-minute account of what's happening in Washington on trade, remember to visit our Global Trade Watch blog:

Recent highlights from our blog include:

[1] Ian Swanson, "Rangel and Levin defend trade deal against caucus criticism," The Hill, May 23, 2007.
[2] See Public Citizen's talking points on the deal (PDF), including quotes from big business groups celebrating the deal.
[3] See Citizens Trade Campaign's statement on the deal (PDF).

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