Progressive Congress Action Fund stands with the progressive community and so many others in calling for Fair Trade. International trade is a reality and should be for the benefit of all, not merely the interests of mega corporations above the interests of individuals and American citizens.
Below is the executive summary of the CPC's recent Principles for Trade: A Model for Global Progress along with some of what the progressive community has been saying about Fair Trade. The principles have been included in full at the bottom of this page.
Principles for Trade: A Model for Global Progress
America’s current trade policy fails working families while increasing profits for the world’s largest corporations. Trade agreements should create a net increase of good American jobs, spur more balanced trade between partners, and improve governance, public health, and environmental protections around the world. The Congressional Progressive Caucus believes the following principles can ensure fairer trade agreements by prioritizing middle class families and removing special protections and privileges for corporations:
- Protect Congress’ Authority to Set Trade Policy
- Restore Balanced trade
- Put Workers First
- Stop Currency Manipulation
- Expand Buy America Procurement Practices
- Protect the Environment for Future Generations
- Prioritize Consumers above Profits
- Protect Nationhood Rights
- Secure Affordable Access to Essential Medicines and Services
- Respect Human Rights
- Provide a Safety Net for Vulnerable Workers
Since implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, the United States has lost millions of jobs in key sectors like manufacturing, wages have stagnated, and the standard of living for working families has dropped.
Outside of the United States, misguided trade policies are devastating both rural and urban communities in emerging nations, from the displacement of millions of small farmers in Mexico to low wages and terrible conditions for garment factory workers in Honduras. Trade agreements that destroy local livelihoods and provide workers with little economic opportunity create strong incentives for immigration to the United States. U.S. trade policy must focus on creating economic opportunity for working people in the United States and abroad, not only on maximizing short-term profits for large corporations.
The United States negotiates some of the world’s largest trade agreements. These deals must put working families and our environment first. The United States must stop using trade agreements as investment deals for the world’s wealthiest corporations and instead prioritize higher wages, safer work and environmental standards, and a healthier world economy.
Fair Trade Versus Free Trade - Videos
Fair Trade - Opinions and Articles
"Promote fair trade by embracing only those trade policies that strengthen our economy, create good jobs with good wages and establish fair rules of the road for companies around the world. Our trade agreements shouldn’t help multinational companies gut environmental, health and safety standards here and abroad under the guise of promoting commerce."
Senator Elizabeth Warren
The force of this conflict between money and ideas is at the center of the furious debate over fast track trade authority and the still secreted Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal. The money – Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Big Pharma, Big Oil and Big Agra – is almost entirely lined up in favor of fast track and the TPP, which is less a trade deal than an investment and special interest deal featuring tough negotiations to protect various American interests (like investment rights and drug patents) in exchange for offering greater access to American markets.
Robert Borosage, Campaign for America's Future
Imagine that you are selling fruit and vegetables at an outdoor market. Suppose that the people at the next two stalls are clever hucksters, we'll call them Bill Gates and Pfizer. Because of their cleverness, they can sell worthless junk at very high prices to almost everyone who passes their stalls. Since most people pass their stalls before they get to yours, the odds are that you won't sell much fruit and vegetables. Most of your potential customers will have given most of their money away to Bill Gates and Pfizer before they got to your stall. For this reason, it is not just a matter of indifference to U.S. workers that the TPP will suck more money away from foreigners in the form of higher patent fees and royalties, it is actually harmful.
Dean Baker, CEPR
As tensions surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership continue to rise, EPI has published a series of reports, blog posts, and economic snapshots emphasizing that such agreements are unlikely to be a good deal for the majority of American workers, especially if they fail to include a provision to stop currency manipulation. Below is a list of these resources from EPI Research and Policy Director Josh Bivens and EPI Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Research Robert E. Scott.
Economic Policy Institute
One of the key reasons to fight fast track is the Administration's insistence on including Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in the two draft treaties. ISDS allows foreign companies and individuals to sue their "host-country" governments through ad hoc arbitration proceedings rather than through normal administrative and judicial channels in the country. Through this mechanism, foreign investors can challenge domestic laws, regulations, court decisions (including Supreme Court decisions) and other domestic actions in front of party-appointed tribunals, and governments can be ordered to pay the investor millions or even billions of dollars. When governments lose, they have little recourse to challenge the decision, even if the tribunal erred on matters of fact or law.
Jeffrey Sachs - Earth Institute at Columbia University