The TRADE Act calls for a strategic pause on trade agreements and a long overdue comprehensive review of U.S. trade policy. This bill also outlines a new U.S. trade strategy-one that puts a priority on the interests of working class Americans, farmers, the environment, and domestic manufacturers, not just multinational corporations.
The AFL-CIO is proud to support the TRADE Act. It is past time to restructure U.S. trade policy to work for working families - here at home and around the world.
Change to Win:
"This legislation will finally bring an end to the disastrous trade deals that have sent millions of jobs overseas and lowered safety standards. It will set new rules for global trade that create good American jobs, improve working conditions everywhere, and make sure that the benefits of trade are shared with workers, not just corporate CEOs.
"The TRADE Act lays the foundation for creating fair trade agreements that will help working families achieve the American Dream in the 21st century economy."
National Farmers Union:
"Current trade agreements have consistently failed to live up to their promised benefits, encouraging a race to see who can produce the cheapest food and fiber regardless of production standards," NFU President Tom Buis said. "The TRADE Act defines a plan for a fair trade policy that will allow American agriculture to compete on a level playing field."
Friends of the Earth:
Friends of the Earth supports well-crafted trade policies that protect the environment and workers, enhance public health and safety, foster strong democratic institutions and improve the quality of life worldwide. Unfortunately, our world's precious natural resources face serious threats from the current free trade model. Past trade pacts, based upon the failed NAFTA/CAFTA model have not worked, and actually encourage industry to relocate in pursuit of the least stringent environmental and social standards. Trade agreements should support, rather than undermine, environmental protection. The TRADE Act encourages responsible behavior, providing a blueprint for a far better and more balanced way to conduct international trade.
Much more after the jump...
The IAM believes that an entirely new model of trade and the global economy is critical if we are to regain our economic strength in the World. The first step is to throw out the old, failed model. The second step is to begin to craft a new model that is based on fairness and that will result in helping, not devastating, workers here at home...
The TRADE Act represents a fresh new start to replacing the failed trade model that continues to destroy jobs, lives and communities.
The TRADE Act provides a progressive blueprint that sets out what should be included in future trade agreements and renegotiated to remedy failures in existing agreements. Support for this bill will demonstrate to the public that we support responsible fair trade agreements that take account of the interests of workers, families, consumers, farmers and faith-based groups - the foundation of our democracy. Past trade agreements, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), have been long on promises but too short on job creation or growing our manufacturing base...
The bill will focus the debate on an improved set of trade and globalization rules that are critical if the rewards of the new global economy are to be shared broadly and fairly. Essentially, it is a marker for where the debate should start when we take up trade issues after the November elections. It provides a roadmap for what a responsible progressive agreement would include and procedures needed to enact it.
National Family Farm Coalition:
The National Family Farm Coalition today praised the introduction of the TRADE Act in the House and Senate which offers urgent and necessary reforms to our deeply flawed trade agreements. Much of the world is grappling with a growing global food crisis. Much of the crisis has been precipitated by free trade policies that have made developing countries reliant on imported food at the expense of domestic local production...
The TRADE Act offers positive steps to help countries practice food sovereignty instead of "free trade." Ben Burkett, President of the National Family Farm Coalition and a Mississippi farmer said, "We applaud the introduction of the TRADE act. The legislation is clear that fair trade begins with farmers being able to earn fair prices reflecting cost of production, fair treatment of farm labor, and limitations against unfair dumping practices. It allows for countries who are part of a trade agreement to establish strategic food and energy reserves, an important policy that must be reinstated to address the global food crisis."
Citizens Trade Campaign:
Trade should be viewed as a means for achieving societal goals such as economic justice, human rights, healthy communities, and a sound environment. Agreements should reflect the views of the majority of the world's people on issues such as jobs, wages, the environment, human rights, food and consumer safety, access to essential services, and public health. The TRADE Act does this, marking out policy space for a more balanced way to expand trade. It marks out fair paths forward, explaining what we are for in a good agreement.
Claiming an election-year mandate from the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, House and Senate Democrats Wednesday introduced labor-backed legislation to effectively call a time-out on free-trade agreements...
"We want trade, and plenty of it. But we want it under a different set of rules," said [Sen. Sherrod] Brown, who was among a number of Democrats elected to the Senate in 2006."
...In attendance was an unusually unified coalition of labor activists, representing steelworkers, Teamsters, hotel and service-industry and communications workers, among others...
"Today marks the beginning of a new way forward of looking at trade issues," said [Rep. Michael] Michaud. He noted a recent plant closing in his district, with its workers now applying for Trade Adjustment Assistance. "They don't want trade assistance; they want their jobs."
So, we now have something to rally around: the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development, and Employment Act of 2008 (whew, you know, titles like that get me all hot and bothered). The leaders on this bill are Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Representative Mike Michaud (ME-2), two guys who have been regular, consistent defenders of workers' rights since the very first day they took office (and I don't believe they have ever needed to throw back a shot of whiskey to prove it, either).
For years, fair trade advocates have fought unfair deals that shipped U.S. jobs abroad and undermined worker rights and the environment. Now, for the first time, they are putting forth comprehensive legislation to overhaul U.S. trade policy and create a new vision for the global economy.
...fair trade advocates have been unfairly labeled as "anti-trade" and "anti-globalization," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch division. The proposed TRADE Act is pro-trade and marks a "concrete new way forward" for the movement, she said.