Invitation to a Conference Call:
Removing WTO Barriers to Our Climate Change and Health Care Solutions, Part I: Climate Change
Thursday, June 19th at 4pm EDT
Speaker: Todd Tucker, Research Director, Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch
U.S. states have taken steps forward to implement many innovative health care and climate change policies that are only now being discussed by presidential candidates and in Congress, such as mechanisms to expand health care coverage, lower medicine prices, and adopt renewable portfolio standards (RPS). As these common sense and desperately needed reforms are receiving increased national attention, various corporate sectors here and overseas have begun raising the specter that these initiatives violate World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.
Unfortunately, some existing U.S. WTO commitments may conflict with these policies. The likelihood of such state policies being challenged as WTO "barriers to trade" will only increase as these proposals receive more attention. This reality underscores the need for comprehensive changes to our trade policy, as well as a more transparent and democratic process for negotiating trade agreements in the future, to ensure that our domestic policy space is not undermined by "trade" rules.
Please join us for a conference call on Thursday, June 19th at 4pm EDT to find out how existing WTO rules conflict with critical climate change solutions and what you can do. You will hear more about:
- What WTO modifications are necessary to implement the climate change solutions that the presidential candidates are discussing;
- Options for your state to safeguard its domestic policy space from expansive WTO rules; and
- How we can build consensus around a new trade negotiating process that includes meaningful consultation with states.
Click here to RSVP or contact Sarah Edelman for more information at (202) 454-5193.
Climate Change Priorities Require WTO Modifications
Some aspects of the WTO's expansive non-trade rules have already proved to be problematic for consumer safety and state policy space regarding procurement and service sector regulation. We have witnessed WTO rules being invoked to successfully challenge U.S. Internet gambling law and to set limits on food and product import safety standards and inspection rates. WTO rules limit certain areas of federal, state and local policy space that have nothing to do with trade. Public Citizen recently prepared a report that shows how WTO commitments that the United States made in 1994 conflict with a number of innovative proposals to tackle critical issues like health care and climate change.
A number of climate change proposals fall under WTO jurisdiction, including:
- Increased CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency) standards;
- New regulation of coal-fired electric plants; and
- Green procurement proposals and green industry subsidies.
Read the full Public Citizen report here.
Better State-Federal Consultation on Trade Needed
Last year, state and local officials in over a dozen states urged Congress to replace the outdated Fast Track process with a more inclusive and democratic process that includes meaningful input from states. Fast Track expired in June 2007, but a new president in 2009 may well seek a new trade negotiating authority from Congress. A unique opportunity now exists to ensure that the next trade debate in Congress will be about how to create a new more inclusive, open process for negotiating future trade agreements that provides opportunities for more affected parties - including state and local officials - to have a meaningful role in ensuring our future trade agreements harness the benefits of trade without undermining domestic non-trade policy space needed to address the many challenges facing our nation.
Please take a minute to fill out our online survey to give your view on what elements would comprise an improved new state-federal consultation process on trade negotiations. Your thoughts are vital to state and local officials being able to develop a new framework for a more inclusive and democratic process that can become part of the future debate.
Click here to fill out our online survey on trade.
To join the network of state and local officials working to create a winning new trade policy that safeguards state sovereignty and democracy in trade agreements, please contact Sarah Edelman at (202) 454-5193 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for all that you do!
Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch