Waco, TX (June 27, 2005) – As we approach the days leading up to Congress’s July recess, free trade proponents are pushing for a vote on the Central American Free Trade agreement (CAFTA). “As a representative of American family farmers and ranchers, I am working to remind Congress that this agreement is a raw deal for U.S. producers”, said Texas Farmers Union (TFU) President Wes Sims. We have heard these promises of prosperity as the result of trade agreements in the past. For a variety of reasons these promises never seem to come true. I do not see what makes this one any different.
CAFTA bears a frightening resemblance to NAFTA, which has encouraged a race to the bottom for producer prices. The fact remains that U.S. producers consistently come up on the short-end in trade agreements. There is no better proof that our trade policy is not working than the fact for the first time in nearly a half-century the United States will likely import more agriculture products than we export.
“Not only does CAFTA further encourage this race to the bottom, it ignores major issues that distort fair trade such as labor, environmental regulations and currency. American producers must pay their laborers a decent wage, and spend money on complying with environmental health standards. These are important and worthwhile standards, but if we are going to compete globally, then our competitors must be forced to comply as well”, stated Sims.
CAFTA poses significant threats, but its benefits have been oversold. Estimates of sizable trade gains for U.S. farmers and ranchers are overly optimistic. CAFTA countries have a combined population of approximately 41 million people with limited incomes with which to purchase agricultural products. Furthermore, if the Free Trade of the Americas agreement becomes a reality or if CAFTA nations establish similar agreements with other countries, these limited market opportunities would become further reduced.
I urge you to contact your members of Congress immediately, and tell them to vote against the passage of CAFTA. Tell them that you will not stand by as we outsource America’s food and fiber production.
|Texas Farmers Union, P.O. Box 738, Sweetwater, Tx 79556|