It doesn’t come from Barack Obama, who campaigned as the “change” candidate. Instead, it comes from Congress – but it does deliver on Obama’s political promise of a new, fair, and effective trade policy.
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Dubbed the “TRADE” act (for Trade, Reform, Accountability, Development, and Employment), this bill provides a progressive path to a global commerce policy that works for people, not just for the corporate plunderers that hung NAFTA, CAFTA, and the WTO around our necks.
The TRADE act (H.R. 3012) sets standards that must be in all future trade agreements, including standards that advance the interests of our working families, the environment, family farmers, small businesses, public health, and national sovereignty. It also stipulates what cannot be included. For example, WTO, NAFTA, and other pacts directly promote the offshoring of jobs, require governments to open all public services to privatization, ban cities and states from instituting “Buy American” procurement programs, and give anti-consumer protections to big drug corporations. The new trade policy would nix all of these outrages.
In addition H.R. 3012 requires the president to renegotiate all existing trade deals, bringing them into line with the new standards. It also eliminates the anti-democratic “Fast Track” process for approving trade agreements, replacing it with a greatly enhanced role for congressional deliberation and oversight.
This bill revamps the rules so we can expand international trade without running roughshod over people and the environment, and with 106 co-sponsors and broad grassroots support, we have a real chance to produce real change. To help create fair trade, connect with local activists in your area through Public Citizen’s trade campaign: www.citizen.org/TRADE.
“TRADE Act” Provides Way Forward fir Trade Expansion Americans Would Support,” Public Citizen Press Release, July, 2009.