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60 Groups Urge President-elect Obama to Renegotiate NAFTA

By Dennis Olson, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy  Posted by Linn Cohen-Cole (about the submitter)     Permalink
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Press Release

For Immediate Release
January 5, 2009

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Contact: Dennis Olson, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, 612-870-3412

Broad Array of Groups Urge President-elect Obama to Make
NAFTA Re-negotiation a Top Priority

Nearly 60 organizations and networks sent a letter to President-elect Obama  urging him to follow through on his campaign pledge to renegotiate NAFTA as a first step towards crafting an alternative trade model that puts people and the environment first over the profits of global corporations. 

“Our letter outlines the areas we think need the most urgent attention,” said Tom Loudon of the Quixote Center. “Based on many years of work, we have identified ten priority areas: agriculture, energy, foreign investment, financial services, the role of the State in the provision of services, employment, migration, environment, intellectual property rights and dispute settlement provisions.”

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“To be effective, any new approach to trade must take into account that agriculture and food are unique and should not fall under the same trade rules as TV sets,” said Dennis Olson of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). “Countries must have the policy flexibility to address the current global food crisis.”

Earlier this year, many of us were part of a three country effort which drafted a policy proposal entitled NAFTA Must be Renegotiated; A Proposal from North America Civil Society Networks,” Loudon continued.  “We envision new relationships between our countries that establish economic relations based on social justice within a paradigm of sustainable development.”

“We have also worked closely with our allies in Canada and Mexico to halt the undemocratic and corporate - led Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), because it excludes Congressional oversight, lacks any consultation with civil society, leads to further deregulation that benefits only corporations and has increased militarization and violation of civil liberties,” said Manuel Pérez Rocha, an associate fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington.  “We seek the active and open involvement of citizens, labor, the private sector and non-governmental organizations in setting the agenda and planning our future.”

“We  hope that the Obama Administration will view the recently introduced Trade Reform Accountability, Development and Employment  (TRADE)  Act, as a constructive starting point for a renewed dialogue on alternative approaches to a fairer and more sustainable trade policy,” said Dennis Olson of the IATP. “It is critical that trade place the enhancement of human rights and equitable development ahead of corporate profits.”

You can read the full letter in English and Spanish.

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Additional Information:

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Tom Loudon, Quixote Center- 301-699-0042
Manuel Perez-Rocha, Institute for Policy Studies- 240-838-6623
Dennis Olson, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy- 612-870-3412

Ben Lilliston

Communications Director

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