April 30, 2009

Tell Congress: No Unfair Trade-Pact Handouts for Bailed-Out Banks

Tell Congress: No FTA with tax-haven country Panama

The Bush-negotiated Panama NAFTA expansion gives new rights to corporations to challenge U.S. government anti-tax haven initiatives, and the financial re-regulation that is so desperately needed. Tell Congress: no Panama FTA!

Dear Fair Trade Supporter,

Last week, new U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced that he wants to move Bush's leftover NAFTA-style Panama Free Trade Agreement (FTA) through Congress "as expeditiously as possible." In his first major policy speech, USTR Kirk contradicted President Obama's specific and frequent calls for a change of course on our failed trade policy and an end to the tax loopholes that promote job offshoring.

Email your members of Congress right away and tell them the Panama FTA does not deliver on President Obama's trade-policy commitments. Make sure that they know you are watching – and that THIS is NOT the change we voted for!

Members of Congress wouldn't vote to let AIG not pay its taxes, or to give Mexican drug lords a safe place to hide their proceeds from selling drugs to our kids, but that's in essence what the Panama FTA does.

We just released a report detailing how Panama is one of the world's top tax-haven and money-laundering nations. In fact, the nation is the only current or prospective U.S. FTA partner that is listed on all the top tax-evasion watchdog lists.

And, guess what we found: some of the largest recipients of federal procurement contracts and money under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (the federal bank bailout) – including Citigroup and AIG – have a combined dozens of subsidiaries in Panama. If this FTA were passed, these entities would be empowered with expansive new rights to challenge U.S. government anti-tax haven initiatives – and the financial re-regulation that is so desperately needed – and claim U.S. taxpayer-funded damages as compensation!

Read the report here.

Then, make sure your members of Congress know about Panama's status as an unrepentant tax haven nation, and your ire about the notion that another Bush FTA – moreover with a leading tax haven – is even being contemplated.

At a time of massive public anger at these financial institutions, the Panama FTA is the wrong handout for the wrong interests. President Obama campaigned on the need for a change in our trade policies and to crack down on tax loopholes that promote offshoring.

Implementing a Bush NAFTA-style trade agreement with one of the world's major tax havens is obviously not the way to go.

Email your members of Congress today, and let them know you oppose expanding NAFTA to one of the world's top tax-haven countries. Then, tell a friend!

Support Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch

Thank you for all you do,
Todd Tucker, Research Director
Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch division

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