Last November, Americans loudly rejected the Bush administration's more-of-the-same NAFTA expansion trade policy. The majority-making Democratic freshman class won by committing to end Bush's trade war on the middle class and force new rules for a fairer global economy.
But, the Bush administration just won't stop – and they are pressuring Congress to pass new NAFTA expansion deals, tweaked with some new labor and environmental standards, but largely the same NAFTA/CAFTA model of trade policy that is pushing down wages, driving undocumented immigration, and threatening public health and the environment.
The bad news is the trade bill on the Peru NAFTA expansion, passed the Ways and Means committee on September 25th, and House and Senate votes could then follow quickly. We can only stop them if we flood Congress with calls right now.
The House vote will likely be within the next two weeks.
Call Rep Rob Andrews, DC office at (202) 225-6501and ask to speak to the person handling trade policy. Tell him/her that expanding NAFTA to Peru (or anywhere) is a bad idea, and tell the staff-person that you urge your representative to take public position against the Peru "free trade" agreement, and any more Bush NAFTA expansion deals.
Not sure if this is your member of Congress? Click here to find out who is: http://action.citizen.org/getLocal.jsp
When you call, ask for a written statement of your congressperson's position to be sent you by email or regular mail. You can also use some of the talking points below; if you have a local or personal story that shows the damage caused by a bad trade agreement, use it to illustrate your concerns.
After you've called, please let us know what the staff-person said! This is critical to our ability to hold Congress accountable. You can respond directly to this email, or follow this link to report the results:
Please forward this note to your friends and neighbors. We have to act fast if we want to stop the administration from expanding NAFTA any further.
PDA/DFA Progressive Democracy South Jersey
p.s. want to do more?
-Sign the petition on NAFTA Expansion and Immigration. Click here: http://action.citizen.org/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=3322
-Write a Letter to the Editor about NAFTA Expansion to your local newspaper. For tips, click here: http://www.citizen.org/trade/media
-"Bird-Dog" your member of congress about NAFTA expansion. Find out more by clicking here: http://action.citizen.org/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=3307
Talking Points the Recent Trade "Deal" and NAFTA Expansion to Peru
* More NAFTA expansion is bad for our economy. We are on the verge of being a net food importer, our trade deficit is out of control, and good jobs are continuing to flee our borders. The Peru, Panama, Colombia, and South Korea free trade agreements will do nothing to solve these problems - instead, they will make them worse.
* The Peru, Panama, and Colombia NAFTA expansions will fuel the drug war and drive more desperate immigration to the U.S.. Decades of U.S. efforts to get poor Peruvian farmers to grow food crops instead of coca could be completely undone. These NAFTA expansion deals will undermine years (and billions of our tax dollars' worth) of our drug-eradication efforts by forcing the same NAFTA-style farm and food rules onto Peruvian farmers that resulted in 1.3 million Mexican campesinos losing their livelihoods. Religious leaders, development groups and agricultural organizations are worried that these rules will lead to more drug cultivation and desperate attempts to immigrate – legally or illegally – to the United States.
* The Peru NAFTA expansion promotes Social Security Privatization. A little know provision in the Peru NAFTA expansion would allow Citibank, or other U.S. investors providing "private retirement accounts," to sue Peruvian taxpayers if Peru tries to reverse its failed Social Security privatization. This problem in the FTA is deemed by Peru's labor federations to be a major impediment to reversing the failed partial privatization which is similar to what Democrats and most Americans opposed when it was proposed by President Bush for the United States. This is a terrible for Peruvians and a terrible precedent. What countries decide to do with their social security systems should not be limited by trade deals.
*The Peru NAFTA expansion agreement would limit food safety inspections. The deal replicates the NAFTA-WTO limits on Congress' ability to protect our food safety -- while increasing the amount of unsafe food imports. In the middle of an imported food safety crisis we need to enhance our food safety system, not continue to weaken it!
*The Peru NAFTA expansion threatens the upper Amazon basin, the most biodiverse area on earth. The trade deal's investment rules could allow foreign investors to challenge desperately needed environmental laws and could chill future efforts to protect the environment. Oil, mining and logging corporations are pushing this trade agreement in order to lock in their ability to conduct operations in the Amazon without having to deal with strong environmental laws.
* The recent trade "deal" to facilitate more Bush NAFTA expansion was negotiated behind closed doors. Unions, environmental groups, small businesses, and (most outrageously) most members of the U.S. Congress were excluded from the negotiations, had NO access to the various documents and texts and had no say — and in fact no notice — on the deal. The future of our national trade policy is too important to be decided behind closed doors by an insider "deal."
*What are Congress' priorities anyhow? The "deal" puts NAFTA expansion ahead of any pro-working family legislation. President Bush has promised to veto the Employee Free Choice Act, which would support workers' rights to organize unions, help on student loans has not become law; and the insurance industry has crushed any discussion of universal health care. By agreeing to more-of-the-same NAFTA expansion before assuring any increase in protections for the American middle class, the Democratic leadership in Congress is making a huge political and strategic mistake.
For more information about Peru and Panama FTAs, click here:
For the most recent Public Citizen Action Alert, click here:
For more talking points on the "deal" that some Democrats cut with the Bush administration, click here:
To read the original Public Citizen alert about "the deal," click here: