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Major Trade Legislation Expected
WASHINGTON - July 18 - Dow Jones reports: “The Senate Finance committee plans Thursday to make another attempt to start informal debate on proposed trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama, after Republicans on the panel boycotted last week’s meeting.”
ARTHUR STAMOULIS, arthur at citizenstrade.org
Executive director of the Citizens Trade Campaign, Stamoulis said today: “Nobody outside Washington is being fooled by this debate over Trade Adjustment Assistance. Poll after poll shows that Americans of all political persuasions oppose more NAFTA-style trade agreements. Job retraining programs for displaced workers should be extended, but not in exchange for more job-killing pacts. Supporting these deals is bad policy and bad politics.”
CHRISTINE AHN, christineahn at mac.com
Ahn is executive director of the Korea Policy Institute and a member of Korean Americans for Fair Trade. She said today: “The South Korean government has spent millions on a massive public relations campaign to convince Korean Americans that the FTA is good for Korea and good for America, plastering Facebook and the Korean media with ads. The truth is that the FTA is good for neither Americans nor Koreans. It is good only for a narrow group of transnational corporations, but will be disastrous for workers, consumers, small family farmers, the environment, and democratic process — in both countries.”
CECILIA ZARATE-LAUN, csn at igc.org
Co-founder and director of the Colombia Support Network, Zarate-Laun said today: “The proposed Colombia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement is about to come up for a vote in the U.S. Congress. This FTA will cost U.S. jobs, as multinational businesses take work to low-paying jobs in Colombia to avoid paying higher wages and benefits in this country. In Colombia, meanwhile, labor leaders continue to be murdered and threatened. The Obama administration has linked passage to greater protection of workers and an end to legislation promoting employer-controlled ‘cooperatives’ as a union-avoidance technique, but these proposed changes have not shown tangible results. Meanwhile, the elimination of trade barriers to entry of U.S. agricultural products will decimate the markets for peasants’, indigenous’ and Afro-Colombians’ products, and intellectual property provisions threaten Colombian indigenous peoples’ access to medicinal herbs, while several Colombian industries are threatened by elimination of import duties.” Zarate-Laun is in the U.S. until Wednesday, when she leaves for a trip to Colombia, where she will continue to be in phone and email contact.
GIMENA SANCHEZ-GARZOLI, gsanchez at wola.org
Sanchez-Garzoli is a senior associate for the Andes with the Washington Office on Latin America. She recently wrote “Undelivered Promises: A U.S.-Colombia Trade Pact Would Not Address, and Might Even Reward, Paramilitary Violence,” which states: “Far from guaranteeing fair and safe conditions for Colombian workers, the plan limits their ability to exercise their rights and ignores serious concerns about security, human rights, and Afro-Colombian and indigenous land rights.”