WASHINGTON - April 27 - Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich said today that the economic sovereignty of the United States took a serious blow yesterday when the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled that U.S. cotton production and export programs violated international trade agreements.
The negative impact of the ruling (which has not yet been made public) could extend to other segments of U.S. farming and agribusiness. These include corn, rice, wheat, and other commodities, Kucinich warned. "It's the agricultural version of the trade policy that has allowed millions of U.S. manufacturing and service-sector jobs to be outsourced to foreign countries," he explained.
"I have been arguing the case for months that our membership in the WTO and our participation in unfair trade agreements like NAFTA put American jobs, American businesses, and the American economy at the mercy of global corporations which are moving jobs out of this country to wherever they can find cheap labor," said Kucinich."
The ruling could result in major economic penalties and trade sanctions against the United States unless the U.S. agrees to change its domestic farm-assistance programs, Kucinich said.
The United States is the world's top cotton exporter, with more than 40 percent of the world market. Brazil, which filed the complaint against the U.S. with the WTO, said U.S. cotton producers and related manufacturers enjoy an unfair competitive advantage over other nations.
Scaling back U.S. production and exports would result in higher international prices, which would help cotton farmers in Brazil and other nations, Brazil argued.
"The United States should repeal NAFTA and a host of other multi-lateral trade agreements and withdraw from the WTO," Kucinich said.
The unfairness of current trade agreements has been a major plank in Kucinich's campaign platform. "I've stayed in this race because the American people need to hear a debate about these issues; and the Democratic Party needs to take a stand in favor of ending these policies and representing the economic interests of Americans."