President Obama ran on trade reform, and now he’s pushing to pass the Panama “free” trade agreement, stated Texas Farmers Union President Wes Sims.
Based on NAFTA, this deal was negotiated by Bush back in 2004, and he couldn’t get it passed. The
unsuccessful ending point of the last administration’s trade policy should not serve as the starting point for this new one.
Most people want trade policies that benefit a majority of workers, farmers, small businesses and consumers. Except for CEO’s, most agree that trade should promote goals like poverty alleviation, pollution reduction, and human rights.
Unfortunately, the Panama FTA does not meet these goals. It is a country best known for a canal, banking secrecy and money laundering.
Not one U.S. faith organization, labor union or environmental group has yet to endorse the Panama agreement. They know American companies are setting up overseas to take advantage of the lack of health and safety standards, currency manipulation, tax loopholes, sub-standard wages, lax labor laws, and fewer environmental constraints.
Trade is good, and we need more of it, but it cannot be based on failed NAFTA model. There has to be a more balanced way to expand trade than encouraging tax evasion for American companies.
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