Free Trade Area of the Americas
International Resolution of the Green Party of the United States, Calling for Fair Trade and Opposing “FTAA” — Free Trade Area of the Americas
Drafted by the International Committee
Adopted by the Coordinating Committee
November 12, 2003
A Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) would be an expansion of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to every country in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, except Cuba.
It would dramatically impact over 800 million people, challenging national sovereignty and devastating local economies, cultures, and natural environments. NAFTA’s advocates promised more jobs in the U.S., but instead more than 700,000 U.S. jobs were lost. FTAA’s impact will be even greater.
FTAA isn’t just bad for workers and communities in the U.S., it’s bad for workers everywhere. In Mexico, for example, the destruction caused by NAFTA shows what all of the Americas could expect. In 1994, Mexico was forced to devalue the peso to attract foreign investment for a free-trade, export oriented economy. As a result, 8 million Mexican families were forced from the middle class into poverty, over 28,000 small businesses have been shuttered, and more than one million more Mexicans now work for less than minimum wage ($3.40 per day) than before NAFTA.
As presently drafted, the FTAA would increase economic inequality between and within countries, concentratingwealth while privatizing essential services, including fresh water and healthcare. It would weaken legal protections for small farmers and businesses, while giving large transnational corporations the power to block government standards for public health, workplace safety, collective bargaining, and environmental pollution. It would force governments — both local and national — to surrender any remaining legal authority to regulate corporations.
The Green Party of the United States declares unequivocally its opposition to FTAA. We reaffirm our determination to speak out against government and corporate power, turned against the freedom and economic security of the hemisphere’s people. Secret FTAA negotiations, closed to the people most affected by their outcomes, will never produce an acceptable result.
“FAIR TRADE” IS A BETTER WAY: DEMOCRATIZING THE GLOBAL ECONOMY
Only a completely restructured trading system, based on the principles of Fair Trade, can meet the needs, and protect the rights, of every person in the Americas. Our concept of Fair Trade is simple, and just. Trade rules must always comply with higher laws of human rights, as well as economic and labor rights established by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. When granted trade privileges, here or abroad, private corporations must serve the needs of the communities they work in, or face revocation of their corporate charters, and the loss of legal status.
A Green-inspired U.S. trade policy would be dramatically different, from the corporate laissez-faire approach, promoted by Democrats as well as Republicans in the U.S. government. In a Fair Trade regime, the U.S. would again link “most favored” status to trading partners’ human rights records. All U.S. trade agreements, whether bilateral or multilateral, would acknowledge the protection of human rights, ecological systems, and local cultures, as an essential first principle.
U.S. trade and investment rules would be instruments to achieve equitable development, promoting ecological sustainability, democratic governance, sovereignty, and food security. Anti-sweatshop and workers’ rights lawswould be enforced, with stiff fines in all cases, and criminal charges when necessary.
Finally, the Fair Trade we call for would be negotiated by elected officials, accountable to the people, and not insecret meetings of corporate bureaucrats. Unlike those of the FTAA, NAFTA, IMF, World Bank, and WTO, truly fair trade negotiations would be open to the public, with full representation by NGOs and civil sector representatives.
GREEN PARTIES IN THE FAIR TRADE MOVEMENT
Achieving these goals will not be easy, but it is possible. Green parties bring the politics of fair trade to national electorates, more often and more consistently than any other parties in the world. Through the media and in electoral campaigns, we have consistently challenged corporate greed, advocating instead a trading system based on fair treaties between sovereign nations, balancing the needs of all participants, with fundamental protection of workers’ rights, local democracy, and the environment.
In fact, Green parties across the Americas are committed to Fair Trade, and our numbers are growing, as more citizens vote Green in local, state, and national elections, sending Greens to government in Mexico, Brasil, Colombia, Peru, Canada — and the United States. In U.S. cities as diverse as San Francisco, Santa Monica, Madison, New Haven, Providence, and others, Green elected officials work closely with trade unions, the peace movement, and fair trade activists. They have sponsored Fair Trade purchasing policies, sister city arrangements, and public events.
At the same time, whenever hundreds of thousands have rallied for fair trade, here and abroad, the large crowds always include many thousands of Greens. In fact, Green parties in every region of the world are opposed to corporate globalization and its destruction of local economies, cultures, and democratic political systems. The anti-globalization movement is worldwide, and so are the Green parties, whose commitment to the movement is resolute.
Finally, the Green Party continues to support local and international networks for grassroots trade, and trade inenvironmentally sustainable goods. We will promote “Fair Trade” labeling of goods, and as individuals, we will continue to purchase locally made goods and locally grown foods, to support local economies as well as cooperative forms of production and trade.
THE CHOICE IS CLEAR
The Green Party calls for democratic and transparent trade negotiations that include broadly based citizen consultation. The Democratic and Republican parties call for minor changes, or no changes at all, to the secretive, corporate negotiations of NAFTA, FTAA, and the WTO.
The Green Party calls for Fair Trade policies that reduce poverty, create living wage jobs with rights and security, respect environmental laws, protect food security, and promote sustainable development. The Democratic and Republican parties want more corporate globalization, stripping citizens everywhere of their rights, destroying environments, and privatizing public services.
The Green Party sees health care, water, energy, and education, as essential human needs, to be protected from private greed. The Democratic and Republican parties see only markets, where the rights and freedoms of human beings are bought and sold by the rules of profit.
The Green Party’s absolute opposition to FTAA, springs from our absolute commitment to a livable future. A better world is possible, for all people of the Americas, but FTAA brings us no closer to a sane, peaceful, and civilized future.
The Green Party says: “Stop the FTAA!”
Green Party Mobilization Against FTAA
Miami-Dade Green Party, “WTO, NAFTA, FTAA, etc.”
Official FTAA/ALCA/ZLEA Website
Stop the FTAA!
AFL-CIO “Stop FTAA – It’s the Wrong Choice!”
Alianza Social Continental (in Spanish)
About.com “Background on Free Trade”
Univ. of Florida, Center for Latin American Studies
American Lands Alliance
Common Frontiers – FTAA Information Kit
Harbinger Online, “Tricks of Free Trade”
Le Monde Diplomatique
San Francisco IndyMedia