From Eyes On Trade blog.
The Bush administration has begun moving the Peru Free Trade Agreement through Congress. A final vote in the House of Representatives is expected in the first half of October, with the Senate to follow.
Labor, environmental, and access to medicines amendments to the Peru FTA under an agreement between House Democrats and the Bush administration represent significant improvements to these important provisions. However, major problems of the NAFTA/CAFTA model replicated in the Peru FTA were not addressed:
- The Peru FTA contains a NAFTA/CAFTA----- foreign investor chapter that promotes off-shoring and subjects our domestic environmental, zoning, health and other public interest policies to challenge directly by foreign investors in foreign tribunals. It allows challenges by foreign investors in foreign tribunals of to challenge timber, mining, construction and other concession contracts with the U.S. federal government, and affords foreign investors greater rights than those enjoyed by U.S. investors.
- The Peru FTA's procurement rules subject many common federal and state procurement policies to challenge in trade tribunals, continue the NAFTA/CAFTA ban on anti-off-shoring and Buy America policies, and expose U.S. renewable energy, recycled content and other requirements to challenge.
- The Peru FTA's agriculture trade rules undermine U.S. producers' ability to earn a fair price for their crops at home and in the global market place. They favor multinational grain trading and food processing companies while farmers on both ends will be hurt. The Peru FTA is projected to increase hunger; illicit drug cultivation; undocumented migration; and continue the race to the bottom for commodity prices, pitting farmer against farmer and country against country to see who can produce food the cheapest, regardless of standards on labor, the environment or food safety.
- While the amended text of the Peru FTA removes the most egregious, CAFTA-based, provisions limiting the access to affordable medicines, it still includes NAFTA----- provisions that undermine the right to affordable medicines for poorer countries.
- The Peru FTA, like NAFTA and CAFTA, still contains language requiring the United States to accept imported food that does not meet our safety standards.
OPEN LETTER TO
THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS
Dear Members of the
We are concerned Peruvian-Americans, immigrant organizations and human rights advocates in the
A free trade agreement with
AGRICULTURE, POVERTY & IMMIGRATION
Agriculture is an integral part of
After NAFTA, over 1.3 million small farmers lost their livelihoods in
CORRUPTION vs. DEMOCRACY
We must remind you that there are pending cases of human rights abuses and corruption involving Garcia’s first government. Garcia was reelected in 2006 on a platform against
This FTA was passed by Peruvian Congress in 2006 in a lame-duck session with very little public support and ignoring a request for a national referendum. Eighty percent of Peruvian Congress members who voted for this FTA had already lost their seats in the elections that predated the vote.
Meanwhile foreign mining and natural gas corporations are making huge profits in
We believe that if this FTA is ratified now by the U.S. Congress, it will send a signal to the Garcia government that its current heavy-handed and anti-public interest policies are supported by the U.S. Congress. It will further perpetuate the perception that the
INDIGENOUS RIGHTS & THE ENVIRONMENT
Most Peruvians are of Indigenous and Afro descendant heritage. According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the poorest of the poor in
Mining, oil and natural gas exploration and extraction projects would increase dramatically with this FTA, leading to extensive damage to the Peruvian environment, especially the
As a result, entire Indigenous communities could be displaced from their lands and pushed into extermination. These FTA regulations directly contradict the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recently adopted by the United Nations, which includes the rights to protect their land and natural resources.
PUBLIC HEALTH & INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
Hundreds of thousands of Peruvians will not be able to afford generic medicines because of new patents and data-protection regulations included in this FTA are intended to protect and boost the already outrageous profits of pharmaceutical corporations. This FTA promotes the privatization and deregulation of services such as water, health care and education. At the same time, it protects the interests of multinational corporations benefiting from
We strongly encourage you to reject the Free Trade Agreement with Peru – and ask instead for it’s further renegotiation – because it is not fair for most Americans nor most Peruvians, and because it was negotiated ignoring the voice of the people of both the United States and Peru.
We believe that a free trade agreement with
Trade should be used to promote social justice and progress for all, and not just for the benefit of the few rich and powerful. The
We believe that fair trade is necessary to address poverty and hunger, and to promote economic progress and decent living standards, while respecting the UN Declaration of Human Rights and guaranteeing the protection of our planet.
PAFT - Peruvian-Americans for Fair Trade
Group of Andean Immigrants in DC
WOLA - Washington Office on Latin America
NNIRR - National Network for Immigrants and Refugee Rights
LULAC - League of United Latin American Citizens
NETWORK – National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society
Casa de Maryland, Inc – Immigrants rights advocacy group
Global Exchange – Human rights for social, economic and environmental justice
Alianza Indígena Sin Fronteras - Indigenous human/civil rights advocacy group
Global Rights - Human rights advocacy group
Intercontinental Congress of First Nation People of North and South America
Sisters of Charity of
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
KAFT - Korean Americans for Fair Trade
Manuel Zapata Olivella - Center for Immigrants Education and Human Development
AFRODES USA - Association of Displaced Afro Colombians
Mexico & U.S. Solidarity Network - Red Solidaria México & EEUU
Movement for Peace in Colombia - Movimiento por la Paz en Colombia
NYC People’s Referendum on Free Trade
NICANET – The Nicaragua Network
WAQIB´ KEJ - Coordinación y Convergencia Nacional Maya