The number of issues that spout from NAFTA and WTO style trade agreements can sometimes feel overwhelming but these issues (ranging from off-shoring to state procurement policies, from the environment to family farms and immigration) cannot be adequately addressed without understanding their common connection to failed trade. Citizens Trade Campaign, Public Citizen and other great organizations provide a variety of resources on many different trade issues.
Below are some basic overviews of a number of different trade related issues.
A New Way to do Trade: The TRADE Act
First introduced in 2008 and reintroduced in 2009 and 2010, the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment (TRADE) Act is a historic piece of legislation that outlines a new vision for trade policy and offers the opportunity to put fair trade principles into law. The 2010 bill had the co-sponsorship of 145 House members including all of MN’s DFL Representatives and the support of hundreds of labor, environmental, family farm and faith groups nationwide. The bill was introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine).
The TRADE Act is a balanced way to expand trade, offering us all a fair way to move forward. The act triggers a review of all existing trade agreements, and provides a process to renegotiate them. The bill also outlines principles of what should be included in future trade agreements, and expresses the sense of the Congress that their role in trade policymaking should be strengthened.
The bill articulates specific changes needed to the failed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)/World Trade Organization (WTO) model to ensure trade deals achieve good jobs, safe food and the promotion of basic human rights, healthy communities and environmental protection.
The current U.S. trade model has had devastating impacts. Since 1975, when Fast Track was first enacted, the trade deficit has gone from a slight surplus to an unsustainable $709 billion deficit in 2007. A net 4.7 million manufacturing jobs have been lost. American worker productivity doubled but median wages are only 1 percent above 1970s levels. In Minnesota, over 58,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost due to unbalanced trade since 1993.
Check out Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch TRADE Act page for the most recent information on this revolutionary piece of federal legislation, articles and letters of support from national labor, environmental, family farm, faith and social justice organizations.
Very brief overviews of trade-related issues:
Overview of Free Trade and Economic Theory – Citizens Trade Campaign
Trade Deficit and Job Loss in Minnesota – MN Fair Trade Coalition
Offshoring and Outsourcing Jobs – Citizens Trade Campaign
Trade and Migration – Citizens Trade Campaign
Trade in Services – Citizens Trade Campaign
General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) Directory – Public Citizen
Trade and Intellectual Property Rights – Citizens Trade Campaign
States Rights and International Trade – Public Citizen
Trade and Global Warming: What are the connections? – Sierra Club
Trade and Food & Agriculture – Citizens Trade Campaign
Trade and Women’s Rights – Citizens Trade Campaign
Trade and Worker Rights – Citizens Trade Campaign