Texas Farmers Oppose 'Fast Track Authority'

Texas Farmers Union (TFU) President Wes Sims today said Congress should not grant "Fast Track Authority" (renamed Trade performance Authority by President bush) to the President to negotiate the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA). TFU is greatly concerned because the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is to be the model for FTAA and the Congress should not give up its consitutional responsibilities to debate trade agreements.

"Because there is a serious crisis in rural Texas today, it is essential that a creative new approach to trade that tarets a different model is adopted for the FTAA. The FTAA operating under the NAFTA model would do great harm to Texas agriculture producers," stated Sims. "For example Brazil and Argentina are major produces of cotton, wheat, beef and soybeans and they have made it clear that their main interest in FTAA is so they will have access to the U.S. market for their commodities.

It is a fact that Texas producer's income has declined since the implementation of the new free trade agreements has occurred. Nor has an increase in volume created with "fence row to fence row" production under "Freedom to Farm" provided a solution to the problem of low prices.

TFU will continue to oppose "Fast Track" and "FTAA" until corrections are made in the present free trade agreements that currently put our producers at a grave disadvantage. Dispute resolution for labor and environmental standards must be given parity with other commercial interests, such as intellectual property rights.

Some changes that must occur are equalizing currency values, also labor and environmental standards in the core text of trade agreements must be mandatory (not permissive)items in any negotiating objectives relative to any trade negotiating authority ceded to the President.

"TFU looks forward to working with Congress and the President to bring about fairness in these important efforts," concluded Sims.

Texas Farmers Union, P.O. Box 738, Sweetwater, Tx 79556