President Obama has stated that he is going to submit several so-called “free trade agreements” to the Senate for ratification soon, perhaps by next week.
He will tout the benefits of these agreements and, with the pressure to create jobs here, he will undoubtedly stress how good they are for the U.S. economy. Ever since NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), we can be justifiably doubtful.
What lessons from NAFTA have been learned that are corrected in these treaties? Opening Mexican markets to U.S. subsidized corn put at least a million Mexican subsistence farmers out of business. Needing to feed their families, they came north to the U.S.A. looking for work. Obviously not all were legal immigrants. What is there about the Columbian Free Trade Agreement that will prevent this from happening? Nothing.
What is there in this treaty to keep U.S. corporations from manufacturing products in Indonesia at pitiful wages and shipping them to Columbia thus benefiting the corporations based here, but not the American worker?
Free Trade Agreements cost families their livelihood. Where is the hold harmless clause? Doesn’t this really end up a massive redistribution of wealth? Upward!
Who was at the negotiating table representing workers and consumers? Were they creditably represented? Oh, and by the way, why were the talks held in secret?
It is past time to end so-called “free trade” agreements and look at a model that is a Fair Trade: Fair to workers and families, sustainable for the environment and protective of the rights of workers. The Columbia Free Trade Agreement meets none of these criteria and it should be rejected. Hopefully, our U.S. Senators will vote to reject it.
Deacon Arthur Donart, Ph. D.