Thursday, September 8, 2011

Why I oppose the Columbia "Free Trade" deal

by Duane Campbell.
                 It will not bring jobs to the U.S.  The production of unemployment, instability, and poverty around the world is produced by  the economic policy known as neo-liberalism.  Neo liberalism is the current stage of capitalism. Trade agreements, like NAFTA ( North American Free Trade Agreement)  and the proposed trade agreements with Columbia and an important part of neo-liberalism and  actually increased poverty for many.

         So called “Free Trade” agreements, like those presently proposed for Columbia, Panama, and South Korea produce economic winners as well as losers.  The winners are the transnational corporations.  The losers are the workers on both sides of the border.
Free trade is the elimination and/or lowering of taxes and other trade regulations between countries with the purpose of increasing exports .   The Administrations argues   that the FTA will create jobs and economic stability for Colombians, yet experience with prior free trade treaties, such as NAFTA,  has shown that free-market agreements lead to more poverty for the majority and increased wealth for a few multinational corporations.
Colombia’s labor laws undermine the free exercise of fundamental labor rights and there are no policies aimed at job creation and social protection. As a result, fewer than 5 percent of Colombian workers today are in a union and fewer than 2 percent of workers are covered by a collective bargaining agreement.  
Anti-union violence still remains at alarming levels. In 2010, 52 trade unionists were murdered and 21 were the objects of unsuccessful attempts on their lives. In 2011, another seven trade unionists have been killed.

 NAFTA, passed by the U.S. Congress in  1994,  has produced  massive migrations of exploited workers, refugees, displaced farmers, and  agricultural workers, as a result of an  unjust global political and economic system ( neo liberalism) that works for the benefit of transnational corporations and at the expense of working people. Most of the jobs created in Mexico come without benefits and without a written contract.  Salaries in Mexico today are lower than they were when NAFTA was signed.
Much of the current wave of migration to the United States from
Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean can be traced to NAFTA , CAFTA, and other unjust “free trade” agreements that enabled subsidized U.S. agribusiness to flood these societies with cheap produce, destroying the livelihoods of millions of small farmers and other rural workers.
            NAFTA created a loss of over 680,000  jobs in the U.S. and over a million jobs in Mexico. People who lost their jobs moved to the cities or to the U.S. producing immigration.  NAFTA was a trade agreement for the corporations.  U.S. owned transnational corporations, including  Ford, Chrysler, Apple, and more eliminated jobs in the U.S. and moved these jobs to other nations where labor was cheaper.
            Economic change forced by NAFTA made a small group of people in Mexico much richer, and a group of people in the U.S. much richer, but it made the vast majorities in both countries poorer.  A “free trade” agreement with Columbia would repeat this process.
         A  goal of trade agreements is to make it profitable  for U.S. corporations to relocate their manufacturing  to Mexico and other developing countries. This has the effect of putting U.S. manufacturing workers in direct competition with low-paid workers in the developing world.  This eliminate manufacturing jobs in the U.S.  and it pressures U.S. workers and unions to accept concessionary bargaining to keep jobs here.
         So called “Free Trade” agreements, like those presently proposed for Columbia, Panama, and South Korea produce economic winners as well as losers.  The winners are the transnational corporations.  The losers are the workers on both sides of the border.

            The AFL-CIO continues to oppose the proposed Free Trade Agreement with Columbia.
See the USLEAP website for more information FTA debate. http://www.usleap.org/


             

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