Yesterday I received a form letter from Sen. Wyden in response to a letter I had sent his office several months ago stating my position on fast track and the Free Trade Area of the Americas. Of course, writing a letter to your Senator is not enough, but it's a start. There is still much work to be done in opposing the FTAA. Please see stopftaa.com for more information. Common Dreams Newscenter is another good resource.
Locally, Jobs with Justice Portland and Portland IMC are good places to start.
I am intentionally not commenting on this letter but rather providing it for informational purposes. Decide for yourself what to make of it.
Thank you for sharing your opposition to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and Presidential fast track procedures. I appreciate hearing from you.
As you may know, fast track authority (now called Trade Promotion Authority) has been around since 1934, and allows the President to negotiate trade agreements and submit them to Congress, without amendment, for a yea or nay vote. Fast track authority has been instrumental in the negotiation and implementation of five major trade agreements. Two of those were multilateral agreements reached during the Tokyo Round and the Uraguay Round negotiations in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The other three agreements were free trade agreements: the U.S.-Israel, U.S.-Canada, and North American Free Trade Agreement.
S. 136, introduced by Senator Gramm of Texas, would extend the trade negotiating authority provision of the 1988 Trade Act through the end of 2004. S. 137, also introduced by Senator Gramm, requires the President to initiate trade agreement negotiations with Western Hemisphere countries for the reduction and elimination of tariffs and non-tariff trade barriers and the establishment of a Western Hemisphere free trade area. Both S. 136 and S. 137 have been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance, where they await further action.
Overall, I believe that free trade, economic engagement and open relations are generally the most effective way to bring about positive changes within a society. However, I will continue work to ensure that the U.S. does not enter into any trade agreements that would have a detrimental effect on worker rights or the environment, and have voted to require that the U.S. negotiate protections for both as part of any new trade accords.
I have long fought for free and fair trade for our nation and region, and I believe those policies have clearly benefitted our trade dependant state. Should either of these bills come before me in the Senate, I will be sure to keep your views in mind.
Thank you for keeping me apprised of the issues that are important to you.
United States Senator
Note: Hyperlinks are mine, not in the letter, and are included as relatively impartial resources for more information. All links will open in a new navigator window.