An Introduction to Fast Track OR-FTC The Oregon Fair Trade Campaign Three major questions: What is Fast Track? Why should I care? Why does this matter now? What is Fast Track? The process the federal government currently uses to negotiate and approve international trade agreements. The Fast Track process means More NAFTA, More WTO NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO, preferred trade relations with China all passed under Fast Track U.S. trade negotiators are actively trying to expand NAFTA to South America and Asia U.S. trade negotiators are trying to massively expand the scope of the WTO to cover public services and building trades The Fast Track process means The Export of U.S. Jobs Oregon has already lost 68,000 jobs due to outsourcing and foreign competition Job losses have hit a wide range of sectors The millions of jobs lost across the U.S. are just a drop in the bucket if NAFTA and the WTO expand as planned The Fast Track process means Forced Privatization Plans to expand the WTO would require massive privatization of government services –Education, health care, transportation, public works and more –Almost any service a private company was willing to do would be at risk The Fast Track process means Threats to Prevailing Wages Plans to expand the WTO would make prevailing wage requirements, project labor agreements and “Best Value” ordinances WTOillegal The Fast Track process means Environmental Rollbacks NAFTA and the WTO have already been used to challenge environmental protections Plans to expand NAFTA to South America and Asia would increase “rip & ship” exploitation of the world’s most biodiverse areas The Fast Track process means Attacks on Local Democracy NAFTA and the WTO have already been used to force deregulation in a wide range of sectors Under plans to expand the WTO, taxpayer subsidies for a wide range of public services could become WTO-illegal The Fast Track process means Decreased Food Security This August, the United States became a net importer of food Since the early 1990s, more than 72,000 family farms have disappeared The Fast Track process means Increased Poverty Abroad Millions of farmers have lost their livelihoods due to imports from the U.S. under NAFTA and CAFTA Patent rules under the WTO have reduced people’s access to medicines and enabled companies to claim patents on indigenous knowledge How is this connected to Fast Track? “Our ability to … continue to advance the trade agenda that we’ve had in the past is going to depend upon getting [Fast Track] extended.” -- Vice President Dick Cheney, 2/14/07 The Fast Track process means A Lack of Transparency Fast Track eliminates normal Congressional committee review and mark-up of trade policy proposals The Fast Track process means Undue Corporate Influence Approximately 500 corporate lobbyists are given official “Trade Advisor” status They have access to negotiators and can even propose policy language The Fast Track process means Positive “Objectives” Get Ignored Instead of mandatory requirements, Fast Track includes weak “negotiating objectives” that trade negotiators are free to ignore The Fast Track process means No Improvements Allowed Under Fast Track, there is no way for Congress to fix the most obvious problems with trade agreements The Fast Track process means Debate Is Strictly Limited Under Fast Track, trade policies come to the floor for a vote automatically – so the Speaker of the House cannot block them The time for floor debate is strictly limited – making filibusters impossible in the Senate The Fast Track Process Fast Track creates trade agreements that are: –Shrouded in secrecy –Accountable only to corporate lobbyists –Impossible to amend and very difficult to block Without Fast Track the free trade agenda would not be possible A transparent process would draw more attention to the labor, environmental and human rights issues in trade agreements Fair Trade champions in Congress could offer amendments to bad trade proposals Champions could filibuster bad bills when necessary When we talk about Fast Track, we’re not just talking about process. We’re talking about jobs, the environment, human rights and democracy. Why discuss Fast Track now? Fast Track expires in July – Congress is currently debating whether to extend Fast Track or to seek out a better process This issue is being decided fast Oregon Plays a Major Role Oregon’s elected officials will play a major role in the Fast Track debate Sens. Wyden and Smith on key committee –Only state with two Senators on it Rep. Blumenauer just joined key House committee and subcommittee Most of Oregon’s delegation seen as “swing votes” on Fast Track We’re at a Crossroads What happens in 2007 will impact the country’s trade policies for years to come For more information: Arthur Stamoulis Oregon Fair Trade Campaign (503) 736-9777 [email protected] Ask to sign up for our e-newsletter and how your organization can join our statewide campaign.