Strike One: Increase Poverty in Third World Countries
A worker from Puebla, Mexico recently explained that NAFTA has made life miserable for a million Mexicans, who`ve lost their family farms and have been forced into monotonous manual labor. You can help prevent this type of disaster from hitting all of Central America.
It has been a year since the US and Central American governments signed the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). But due to overwhelming public opposition throughout the Americas, the Bush Administration and Congressional leadership have been unable to bring it to a vote.
The Bush Administration has stepped up its campaign to get CAFTA passed, and the latest word is that the US House and Senate will try to bring it to a vote before the July 4th recess. Take action before it is to late.
Increased trade has the potential to reduce poverty and encourage development. But CAFTA is the wrong approach. Here`s the problem: Free trade agreements like CAFTA assume a level playing field among countries. But in reality, huge subsidies to farmers in the US - annually totaling as much as $18 billion - allow US farmers to export their products to foreign markets at prices that are below the cost of production. How can small rural farmers in Central America compete?
We`ve seen the increase in poverty among small farmers in Mexico because of NAFTA. We can expect to see the same thing happen to the family farmers of other Central American countries should CAFTA pass. Analysis by Oxfam shows that CAFTA is likely to create even greater poverty than NAFTA, threatening to push already poor farmers into extreme poverty.
Please email your Representative and Senators today. Urge him or her to vote NO on CAFTA.
Strike Two: Weaken Wildlife ProtectionsShould foreign investors dictate U.S. wildlife policies?
We need your help to stop an irresponsible and environmentally harmful trade agreement now winding its way through Congress.
The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) threatens Central America's already-fragile ecosystems with damaging development and would allow foreign investors to challenge laws that the U.S. and other nations have passed to protect wildlife and habitat. The U.S. House of Representatives will vote on whether to approve CAFTA as early as this week, so please take action right now!
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Send Congress a strong message that trade agreements should encourage, not undermine, environmental protection! Go go to the DEN Action Center at www.denaction.org or your congressional interface below this message and send a message to your Representative today to urge him or her to vote against CAFTA.
Strike Three: Control our Rights to Essential Nutrients
CAFTA will also interfere with our rights to buy nutritional supplements.
'To harmonize sanitary and phytosanitary measures on as wide a basis as possible, Members SHALL base their food safety measures on international standards, guidelines or recommendations.'
This makes the supposedly "voluntary" Codex Alimentarius standard for vitamins and minerals MANDATORY for all WTO member nations.
Passage of CAFTA and FTAA would broaden and deepen the scope of the SPS agreement, forcing harmonization of not only our dietary supplement laws to mindless international standards, but it would lead to the creation of a supranational body similar to the EU in our hemisphere, and we oppose this clear threat to U.S. sovereignty.
When the draft text of CAFTA was first made available on January 28th, 2004 the Governors of all 50 States discovered that they were bound by the 2,400 page agreement -being specifically listed in chapter 9. A third have since rescinded their support of CAFTA.
In light of CAFTA moving quickly ahead we need to be concerned about our health freedoms despite the double talk and outright lies being put out by pharmaceutically dominated industry trade associations like the Council For Responsible Nutrition (CRN), The National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA), and The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) who are all telling supplement companies that Codex will not affect our domestic laws. In addition to this, they also are telling supplement companies that Codex Alimentarius is a good thing.
The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) has released the results of its year-long investigation into lobbying by the pharmaceutical industry, which found that the industry has spent more than $800 million since 1998 on lobbyists and political campaigns. In the past year alone, the industry hired nearly 1,300 lobbyists, including hundred of former public officials. "It is astonishing to learn that no other interest has spent more money to sway public policy in this time period," said CPI executive director Roberta Baskin. In addition to lobbying for industry-favorable policies domestically, the drug industry's trade lobby has enlisted the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to pressure pressure foreign governments into removing price controls on pharmaceuticals and restricting sales of lower-priced generic drugs.
CAFTA has PassedJuly 28, 2005
In "The Manufacturer - Promoting best practices" of all places, we find the following: "Lessons of History ... David Blond sees lessons in ancient Roman times that American moneymen and manufacturers might do well to heed."
Addendum by Rep. Ron Paul, MD:
The Poison Sausage Factory
Congress passed a multinational trade bill known as CAFTAN last week, but not without a feverish late night vote marred by controversy and last-minute vote switching. Leaving aside the arguments for or
against CAFTAN itself, the process by which the bill ultimately passed should sicken every American who believes in representative government.
House leadership ignored the time limit and kept twisting arms and making deals until they finally had the votes to pass CAFTAN nearly an hour later.What kind of deals? Well, one member of House leadership told reluctant legislators, "We've got to have you; you tell us what you want." And tell they did. Lawmakers in textile producing states were bought off with promises of textile subsidies. Lawmakers in sugar-producing states were bought off with promises of special treatment in the 2007 farm bill. On and on it went, with promises of new bridges, parks, and whatever else it took to pass CAFTAN.
Rest assured that you will pay dearly for these bribes used to buy votes. Every favor granted and every pet project funded comes on top of the pork-laden appropriations bills already passed in the House this year. These new goodies will be added to the final House-Senate versions passed later this year. One of my colleagues estimated that the price tag for buying the CAFTAN vote will be at least $50 billion.
That's right, $50 billion to win a vote. Is this what you want from your representatives in office?Perhaps the strangest vote buy off occurred two days before the CAFTAN vote. Lawmakers from hard-hit manufacturing districts steadfastly have opposed CAFTAN, arguing that it would accelerate the outsourcing of jobs to nations with cheap labor. So House leaders scrambled to craft last-minute legislation to "get tough" on China, which is the real source of concern for most American manufacturers. A bill was drawn up, and a hasty vote cast, so lawmakers could explain that they traded a yes vote on CAFTA for action against China. One small problem presented itself, however: the China bill failed on the House floor! So House leaders went back to the drawing board, struck some and held a second vote on the same bill the next day. This time it passed, but its chances of surviving the Senate or a White House veto are virtually nil. So members from manufacturing districts literally sold their votes for nothing. Their months of double-talking, coyness, and vote peddling resulted in nothing more than an empty promise.
The president's press secretary called the CAFTA vote "a real victory for the American people."
The problem is the vast majority of Americans have not even heard of CAFTA, and those who have overwhelmingly oppose it.CAFTA was conceived and created by corporate interests, and to claim otherwise is preposterous. The CAFTA vote had nothing to do with the American public, or even trade policy per se. CAFTA was driven by politics and nothing more. Multinational corporations and political globalists share the same goals, namely the centralization of political power in international bodies and the diminution of national sovereignty. What we witnessed last week was not just the selling of votes, but also a sellout of American control over our own trade regulations.
August 2, 2005
Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.
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Read also CAFTAN SHAFT, NOW WHAT?