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Ask Your Member of Congress to Support the Trade Act Today!

 Join The Washington Fair Trade Coalition's Letter writing campaign to Congressman McDermott!

 With 137 co-sponsors, the majority of democrats in the House have co-sponsored the TRADE Act.  By refusing to sponsor the TRADE Act, Representative McDermott is in the minority of his own party and on the wrong side of reforming trade policy.  McDermott sits on the Ways and Means Commitee's subcommittee on Trade and has the potential to be a powerful voice for change.  Check out our letter to him below.

Dear Congressman McDermott,

As an organization committed to supporting peace, justice, and sustainable economies in the Americas, Witness for Peace Northwest urges you to support the passage of the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment (TRADE) Act. Our organization represents faith communities, students, and community leaders from all over the Pacific Northwest, including those in your district.

The Latin American communities advocated for by Witness for Peace Northwest have been unfairly treated due to ineffective trade policies. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of 1994, touted as a way to create jobs and raise the standard of living, resulted in devastating consequences for the rural poor, the environment, workers rights, and indigenous sovereignty. Over fifteen years after the passage of NAFTA only 10% of the Mexican population has witnessed a higher standard of living while the socio-economic situation for many more Mexicans has drastically declined.

Neighboring Latin American nations, such as Nicaragua, have seen similar disastrous effects due to trade policies that have failed to deliver on their promises. Since the inception of the 2006 Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR CAFTA) extreme poverty levels in Nicaragua have only gotten worse. Although exports have increased, this increase has not resulted in greater jobs or more wealth for the majority of the population.

The TRADE Act offers a much more balanced way to expand trade and to ensure that trade agreements deliver on their promises. The TRADE Act would guarantee that existing agreements be renegotiated and all future agreements be negotiated to protect environmental sustainability, human rights, and workers’ rights. The Act offers an important opportunity to correct the failings of past trade agreements and to ensure the effectiveness of all future agreements.

We know of your commitment to supporting economic development in some of the poorest nations in Africa and Southeast Asia and of your efforts to alleviate difficult environmental problems. Current trade agreements hinder economic progress in many developing nations since they allow multi-national corporations to reap the most benefit. Current trade policies have, additionally, allowed corporations to successfully sue local governments for passing laws to protect public health and the environment. Passage of the TRADE Act would reverse these negative economic and environmental issues. The TRADE Act would allow nations to prioritize public health, local development, and food security above the interests of foreign investors. Environmental sustainability would also be protected in all trade agreements.

As a member of the Ways and Means Committee’s Trade Subcommittee, you have the power to make a difference on reforming trade policy. We ask you to join the 137 co-sponsors of the TRADE Act in passing this important piece of legislation. The TRADE Act ensures fair and just trade agreements and that meet the goals of broad-based, people-centered development and poverty reduction. Before another exploitative trade agreement is signed, make your stand now.

Sincerely,

Megan Bilas and Colette Cosner

Witness for Peace Northwest

Contact your representatives and tell them to sponsor the TRADE ACT today.  Click here for the Citizens Trade Campaign Action page--including talking points, sample letters, and representative contact information.

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