www.archive-org-2012.com » ORG » O » OAKLANDINSTITUTE

Choose link from "Titles, links and description words view":

Or switch to "Titles and links view".

    Archived pages: 861 . Archive date: 2012-12.

  • Title: Congressional Hearing:KORUS Free Trade Agreement | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Congressional Hearing:KORUS Free Trade Agreement.. Thursday, June 1, 2006.. Korean and American Workers, Farmers and Legislators Voice Opposition to US-Korea Free Trade Agreement.. As trade negotiators from the United States and South Korea began free trade talks on June 5, American and Korean workers, farmers and legislators voiced their opposition to the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) at a press conference on June 7, 2006, 10 AM at the Cannon Terrace, Washington, DC.. Co-organized by the Korea Policy Institute and  ...   the proposed trade agreement will have on Korean society and economy.. Learn More.. Report Back from the Press Conference.. Statements Delivered at the Press Conference.. Resolution in Opposition to the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement.. View Photos from the Press Conference.. Contact.. the oakland institute.. P.. O.. Box 18978.. Oakland, CA 94619.. info@oaklandinstitute.. org.. Donate.. Your tax-deductible donation allows us to conduct independent research, analysis, and advocacy to facilitate democratic participation in critical policy decisions that affect our quality of life..

    Original link path: /node/2341
    Open archive

  • Title: Inequity in International Agricultural Trade: The Marginalization of Developing Countries and Their Small Farmers | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Inequity in International Agricultural Trade: The Marginalization of Developing Countries and Their Small Farmers.. Tuesday, March 1, 2005.. Inequity in International Agricultural Trade: The Marginalization of Developing Countries and Their Small Farmers.. By Frederic Mousseau and Anuradha Mittal*.. State of Agricultural Commodity Markets (SOCO) is a new report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that analyzes global trends in agricultural production and trade and documents the inequity and unfairness of the global trade system in terms of its impact on the poorest nations and their small farmers.. The study’s findings, based on the examination of 40 years of international trade in agricultural products, expose that the developing countries, and above all the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), do not benefit from integration into the international trade system.. The study shows how economic integration has actually contributed to the economic and social decline of the LDCs.. A Thai farmer protesting in front of the US Embassy.. in Bangkok against WTO before the 5th Ministerial in Cancun, 2003.. The Developing Countries are Loosing Ground in International Trade.. FAO estimates that 2.. 5 billion people in the developing world depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.. Many of them rely on the sale of agricultural commodities or employment in producing and processing food commodities for export.. However, a fundamental handicap that the developing countries face is their high dependence on a small number of commodities for their foreign exchange earnings.. More than 50 developing countries, including a majority of the LDCs, depend on exports of three or fewer agricultural commodities – typically tropical products – for between 20 and 90 percent of their foreign exchange earnings.. This dependence costs the developing countries and their farmers dearly, for they are facing three negative patterns: the long-term decline of agricultural prices, high price volatility, and the degradation of terms of trade.. Long-Term Decline of Real Prices of Agricultural Commodities.. Real prices of agricultural products have decreased by 2% per year in the past four decades.. According to the FAO, “global supplies have grown more rapidly than demand” and the long-term decline is caused by increased productivity and oversupply fuelled by intense global competition and subsidies to producers in developed countries.. This decline has directly resulted in a fall of income for many developing countries and their farmers.. High Volatility of Agricultural Prices.. Prices of many agricultural commodities are highly volatile, especially for raw materials and tropical beverages -- key commodities for export earnings in developing countries.. Both supply and demand, especially for perennials, respond slowly to price changes.. When prices are high, farmers can increase their planting, but they cannot compress the time it takes for crops to ripen for harvest, which can take years in the case of perennial crops such as coffee or cocoa.. Whereas producers in developing countries may not earn the benefits of high prices, low prices always result in decreased incomes for farmers and drops in export earnings at the country level.. The situation is different in the developed countries: Farmers’ incomes are protected against these drops through compensation of prices by the State while exports are sustained through subsidies.. The report cites a recent IMF/World Bank publication that shows that sharp drops in the prices of key export commodities has been the main reason why the ratio of debt to exports had worsened dangerously in 15 heavily indebted poor countries.. Evolution of Terms of Trade: Transfer of Income from Developing to Developed Countries.. Whereas prices of the principal agricultural commodities exported are highly volatile and have decreased in the long run, prices of manufactured goods, mainly imported from developed countries, have been stable.. As a result, the average prices of agricultural products sold by LDCs fell by almost 70% relative to the price of manufactured goods purchased from developed countries.. Also statistical data compiled by FAO shows developing countries have turned from net exporters to large importers of food from developed countries: a food trade surplus of USD 1 billion in the 1970s was transformed into a deficit of USD 11 billions in 2001.. Over this period, the share of gross food import bills in GDP more than doubled for developing countries.. This shift has been due to several factors.. In particular, developing countries have increasingly specialized in the production of a few commodities, often non-food products such as coffee or cocoa, while the subsidized exports from developed countries make imported food cheaper than local products in developing countries, which undermines local agriculture.. Also, the overall decline in support to agriculture in developing countries has worsened the situation.. The disastrous deterioration of the terms of trade (ratio of prices of exported goods to the price of imports) for the LDC countries has resulted in “a consequent transfer of income from developing to developed countries.. ” The LDCs are the most affected by this pattern because they rely significantly on their export income to finance their food imports.. This trend threatens their food security and economical sustainability, and has increased their debt burden.. Developed Countries Against Development.. LDCs and developing countries in general are not just marginalized because of their poor competitiveness, their inadequate policy choices, or their lack of comparative advantage in a competing world.. FAO demonstrates that the developing countries are losing ground in international trade as a result of developed countries’ policies.. It notes: “tariffs, subsidies and other trade-distorting policies in developed countries have to a large extent eroded the market share and revenues of exports by developing countries.. ” Structural Adjustment Programs, encouraged by developed countries, have also weakened developing countries, allowing large agri-business corporations from developed countries to take control over agricultural production and trade.. Subsidies in Developed Countries Reduce Producers’ Income in Developing Countries.. In recent years, the OECD countries have provided a total of US$200 billion per year in support to the farmers in their countries -- including both export subsidies and domestic support.. These policies have significantly depressed prices in world markets.. A farmer lying on the bed of sharp metal nails.. protests in front of the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, 2004.. A direct consequence is the erosion of incomes and market share of producers in non-subsidizing developing countries and the drain of foreign exchange reserves of many countries that depend heavily on commodity exports.. In recent years, developed countries have been under some pressure to reduce their export subsidies, but FAO observes that the reduction of their official export subsidies has coincided with increased domestic support to their farmers, which results in another form of export subsidy.. Subsidies drive prices down, well below the cost of production.. FAO notes for instance that European sugar is exported at prices that are 75 percent below the cost of production.. While such subsidies maintain farmers’ incomes in developed countries, developing countries are unable to subsidize their farmers, who cannot compete against cheap subsidized foods.. Tariffs Against Trade and Development for Developing Countries.. According to FAO, the average tariff for agricultural products in developed countries is 60 percent, compared with an average 5 percent for industrial goods.. These tariffs on imports by developed countries are unfair to developing countries, which are highly dependent on the export of agricultural commodities.. Furthermore, exports from developing to developed countries face tariff escalation: higher tariffs are levied on goods exported at more advanced stages of processing.. Tariff on fully processed foods in many cases are more than double the tariffs on basic food commodities.. FAO views this as one reason for the limited involvement of developing countries in exporting processed products: Tariff escalation discourages investment in agricultural processing in developing countries.. Diversification into more highly valued export products would reduce developing countries’ dependence on primary export commodities, which are faced with decreasing and volatile prices and produce less and less income for the countries and their farmers.. According to FAO, “reducing tariff escalation has been identified as one of the most important market access issues  ...   and the volatility of prices of agricultural products.. 2.. Reduction of States’ intervention in support to prices and farmers.. 3.. Intensifying competition, which results in cost reduction strategies that include low salaries and benefits for workers.. 4.. The increasingly dominant position of international trading companies and supermarkets in their relation with the producers.. Decreasing income and growing vulnerability to shocks and to external competition makes small-scale farmers in developing countries and especially in LDCs the losers in the global economy.. Defining the Remedy.. Oversupply of Agricultural Commodities the Central Issue.. FAO’s analysis identifies oversupply as a central factor affecting developing countries: production and productivity in agriculture have grown faster than demand.. Average yields for the major agricultural export commodities increased by almost one-third over the past two decades.. With the developed countries highly subsidizing their farmers, the developing countries are those who carry the burden of oversupply and low agricultural prices, even though they produce at lower costs.. These facts clearly challenge the popular myth of shortage of food production as a primary cause of world hunger.. The world does not need to produce more, but actually less, in order to better remunerate agricultural producers.. Most of the 842 million undernourished people in the developing world today are from farming families in developing countries.. Reducing global poverty, therefore, must involve increased support for local agriculture.. FAO recommends a number of policy responses that would address oversupply by prioritizing the reduction of production in developed countries through the removal of ‘market distortions’ – i.. e.. , tariffs, subsidies, and producers’ support.. “In markets free of tariffs, subsidies and other distortions, the first producers to exit should be those with the highest production costs.. FAO also lists a range of measures geared towards strengthening the position of developing countries, and especially the LDCs, in the production and global trade of agricultural commodities.. These measures include diversification of production into higher value crops, processing of commodities into value-added forms, developing demand-side solutions such as promotion campaigns for certain products, and niches such as organic products or fair trade.. Trying to Square the Circle.. FAO’s analysis clearly identifies the unfairness and inequity of the international trade system that favors developed countries, their farmers, and their large corporations at the expense of developing countries and their small producers.. It also recognizes that the past two decades have witnessed this pattern being perpetuated and aggravated through the implementation of structural adjustment programs and market liberalization.. In addition to recommending measures addressing oversupply, FAO recommends interventions geared towards supporting and protecting farmers in developing countries.. It suggests, for instance, programs to help farmers against shocks and price volatility, increased flows of resources to agriculture and rural development, and increased investments to improve productivity and competitiveness of domestic food production.. Unfortunately, apart from denouncing market distortions by developed countries, the report does not fundamentally question the policies that have been driving agriculture down in the developing countries and undermining the livelihoods of their farmers.. The measures recommended are meant to make developing countries and their farmers more competitive in an open global economy.. Despite quoting evidence of failed trade agreements, FAO does not really question market liberalization and in fact, its report actually recommends more liberalization when advocating for removal of tariffs in developing countries in order to boost trade among them.. One might consider these recommendations realistic because they take as given and irreversible the ongoing trend of market liberalization.. Yet, the recommendations are not consistent with the findings of the report: Developed countries, their large corporations, and the international financial institutions that they control are not working in favor of the development of the poorest countries.. FAO also recommends increased financial support and investment in the agricultural sector of developing countries but, with an apparent naivety, ignores the key question of who is going to pay for that support and investment.. It is very unlikely that developed countries will pay up in the absence of major political shifts within those countries.. They have yet to fulfill their commitment to spend 0.. 7 percent of their GDP in development.. The United Nations estimates that this figure would need to be doubled to start reducing poverty effectively in developing countries.. As a matter of fact, the debt repayment from developing to developed countries greatly exceeds what the former receive as development assistance.. FAO calls for increased flows of resources towards agriculture, but seems to forget that FAO itself, created to support the development of agriculture, has been marginalized over the past few decades because its goals did not correspond with the goals of ‘donors’ countries.. Figures speak for themselves: The total operational budget of the FAO in 2003 was USD 386 million.. The budget for the World Food Programme – the UN food aid agency whose main resources are in kind food aid from the US used to support the domestic agribusiness and to open markets for the US products – was 10 times more – USD 3.. 275 billion.. The most prosperous developing countries might still be able to develop autonomous agricultural policies, supportive of their producers and their national food security.. However, the situation is very likely to be different for the LDCs – the poorest nations, already very marginalized, that are unable to protect their producers under the rules of free market, with scarce resources available to spend on agriculture.. Given the dominant position of large corporations from developed countries in the production and trade of agricultural products, future evolution of agriculture and trade in LDCs will be driven by these companies, with little benefit for small farmers and their domestic economy.. Also, given the intense competition in the global market, further opening up of economies in developing countries may very likely result in some wealthier developing countries taking advantage of the LDCs, which will lose even more ground and be driven deeper into economical and social decline.. In conclusion, throughout its analysis of the international trade system, the FAO report presents a comprehensive diagnosis of the disturbing situation of agriculture in developing countries and especially in the LDCs.. The trends described in the report constitute a more serious threat to the livelihoods of millions in these countries than do droughts and other crises.. As a matter of fact, it has now been recognized that several recent so called food crises or famines in developing countries, such as Southern African countries, were to a large extent triggered by market liberalization and structural adjustment programs implemented in these countries.. Although very explicit in its diagnosis, FAO fails to provide the right remedy to an ongoing disaster.. For the FAO, trade and market liberalization seem to be the only chances that the poorest nations have to get out of poverty.. Yet, after the publication of such a report, it is obvious that the only way forward for the developing countries is the adoption of the policy of food sovereignty, including the right to protect their production and markets against an inequitable system.. This development model would seek well-being and food security for all people and farmers in developing countries, rather than the profits of business interests in developed countries.. *Frederic Mousseau, a Senior Fellow at the Oakland Institute, is an internationally renowned food security consultant who works with international relief agencies including Action Against Hunger, Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam International.. Frederic's work has involved the direct design and supervision of food aid and food security interventions as well as the evaluation of food security programming in more than 20 countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa over the last 15 years.. Frederic lives in the South of France and can be reached at.. fred.. mousse@laposte.. net.. Anuradha Mittal is the founder and director of the Oakland Institute.. Read.. Call to G-20: Confront the Agribusiness of the North.. (C) 2005 By The Oakland Institute.. All Rights Reserved.. Please Obtain Permission to Copy..

    Original link path: /node/2299
    Open archive

  • Title: Freedom to Trade? Trading Away American Family Farms | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Freedom to Trade? Trading Away American Family Farms.. Anuradha Mittal with Mayumi Kawaai.. September 2001.. On January 1, 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) was established.. It is home to a series of trade accords that include agreements on services, agriculture, intellectual property rights, and other issues never before included in international trade rules.. The organization was established with a commitment to raise standards of living and ensure full employment in the context of expanding trade, while upholding the objective of sustainable development.. The reality has been almost the opposite.. At the last ministerial held in Seattle in 1999, negotiators were confronted by 70,000 prostestors: a coalition of students, teachers, farmworkers, factory and steel workers, consumers, environmentalists, feminists, spiritual leaders, animals rights activists, human rights advocates, friends and families, and representatives from more than 100 countries.. They stood together for fair labor standards, environmental protection, public health, human rights, and democratic values over the "corporate interest first" agenda of the trade talks.. The meeting eventually collapsed under the weight of the protests inside and outside the conference center.. In the wake of the Seattle debacle and other protests against the international financial institutions that have gathered strength since then, the next ministerial is being planned to be held in Doha, Qatar.. The built-in agenda has several items of concern, with agriculture being one of the key areas.. A communiqué issued following the twenty-second Ministerial held in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in September 2001, emphasized that the next ministerial should provide a clear commitment to end discrimination against agriculture and fully integrate it into WTO rules.. This commitment is designed to achieve fundamental reform of agricultural trade through elimination of all forms of export subsidies and reduction of domestic support.. (1).. The US administration has been a key advocate of the Agreement on Agriculture (AOA) in the trade talks.. President Bush has used agriculture as an excuse to push the vote on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA, once called Fast Track) through Congress.. This will allow him to negotiate international trade agreements that Congress can only approve or reject, but not amend.. President Bush has argued, "I want America to feed the world.. We are missing some great opportunities, not only in our hemisphere, but around the world.. These are opportunities for people who earn a living the hard way.. These are opportunities for working people.. ".. (2).. In other words, trade agreements are good for American farmers.. This position has been supported by the USDA secretary Ann Veneman and former secretaries Dan Glickman and Clayton Yeutter.. Glickman claimed that "without expanding access to trade, we will see income come down.. There are lots of positions on this, but there is no question that the President needs TPA - needs the authority to go out and negotiate trade deals.. (3).. Yeutter even singled out labor unions, radical environmental advocacy groups, and anti-globalization forces as the main opponents of farmers.. (4).. What is the Agreement on Agriculture?.. Prior to the Uruguay Round in 1995, agriculture fell outside the discipline of the predecessor to the WTO, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), ironically because of pressure from the United States.. With the US threatening to leave GATT unless it was allowed to maintain protective mechanisms for sugar, dairy products, and other agricultural commodities, Washington was given a "non-time limited waiver" on agricultural products.. Despite this early reticence, however, the need for "rules of engagement" in the struggle for Third World markets got the European Union (EU) and the US to press for the inclusion of an Agreement on Agriculture (AOA) in the Uruguay round.. With the rhetoric of free trade, the two superpowers used the agreement to regulate monopolistic competition - for the right to exploit the Third World - between them.. (5).. The AOA sought the liberalization of trade in agricultural products by opening up markets, and cutting domestic supports and export subsidies to help create more equal competition in the market.. Instead this agreement has turned into the first step in making food production into a business monopolized by a few.. (6).. The AOA has created an unfair global trade system.. It has not only proven to be a threat to the stability of Third World farmers who do not have competitive advantages, but has resulted in a US domestic agricultural policy that favors agribusiness over family farmers.. The Bones of the Agreement.. The three key provisions in the AOA are:.. Market access: The extent to which a country allows imports of foreign products.. It aims to regulate and lower protectionist barriers relating to tariffs, and the minimum and current trade quotas in order to improve access to markets.. Domestic support: The annual monetary support given by governments to agricultural producers either in direct payments or tax breaks, or in the form of infrastructure and research.. The AOA classifies these supports into several categories - those that are acceptable because they are minimally trade distorting, and those that are not acceptable; those that have ceiling levels, and those that do not.. Export subsidy: Provisions that strive to reduce the amount of subsidies countries can give to export goods on the world market at prices lower than those in their domestic markets.. Today, the countries that can afford to subsidize exports can take markets away from more efficient producers by undercutting the actual cost of production.. How the AOA has Affected Family Farmers in the US.. Even before the AOA was drafted, US policy for the last 20 years has been to depress agricultural commodity prices, with the stated aim of increasing US market share in agricultural trade.. Despite these efforts, the US market share in principal grain exports has fallen steadily during this period.. Although only 30 percent of US agricultural production is traded internationally, the great weight of US agricultural policy is dedicated to dropping commodity prices, with devastating impacts on family farmers and rural communities.. Soon after the AOA came into effect in 1996, the US implemented the Federal Agriculture Implementation and Reform Act (FAIR).. This new act was seen as a means to provide income and price stability for US farmers.. (7).. The goal was to expand agricultural exports with promises of a return to a free market, greater freedom for farmers, and reduced levels of government spending and controls.. This bill, drafted in a period of high agricultural commodity prices, was formulated and supported by the representatives of corporate farms and agribusiness, even though farmers as well as policy makers knew that it lacked a safety net for family farmers.. (8).. The most significant change FAIR brought about was the elimination of deficiency payments.. These payments compensated farmers for the difference between the price received for their crops and the actual cost of production.. (9).. The deficiency payments were replaced with Production Flexibility Contracts, fixed payments to farmers based on past production levels, and not reflecting either current or projected production.. (10).. Production Flexibility Contracts preserved and even enhanced export subsidy programs.. For both wheat and dairy exports, the US Secretary of Agriculture was directed to implement maximum volume and funding levels consistent with the GATT Uruguay Round commitments to develop markets throughout the world.. (11).. While the intent was to stabilize prices and farm incomes by maximizing export sales opportunities, export subsidies were distributed mainly to the exporters and agribusiness, and did little to alleviate market price volatility for family farmers.. (12).. In fiscal year 2000, the US government paid $28 billion in subsidies, mostly to large landowners, under the so-called "Freedom to Farm" legislation of 1996.. These payments comprised 49 percent of net farm income in 2000 and kept large farm operations in business, allowing US agribusiness to continue to pay below cost-of-production prices for agricultural raw materials.. (13).. All while the family farmers were driven off the land.. Recently, the US House of Representatives passed an emergency aid package of $5.. 5 billion for farmers.. Once again, however, this money will not necessarily go to the farmers in dire straits, as the aid is not based on need.. (14).. The actual problem is not the amount of money the government spends, but how and to whom the money is allocated.. These farm policies have generated an average 15 percent annual return on equity for agribusiness, compared to an average two percent return for the US farmers.. (15).. The 1996 FAIR act reduced the number of strategies open to the producers in the US, forcing farmers to increase production in an effort to realize a more efficient scale.. (16).. American family farmers have faced record low prices and unfair market competition, while taxpayers have footed the bill for record levels of spending on farm programs.. At the same time, corporate agribusiness has made record profits.. Farmers with little control over the price of their products, are exposed to an economically volatile situation.. The Crisis of American Agriculture.. Lou Anne Kellman, a retired Chicago lawyer, inherited a 900-acre farm in Texas in the mid-1980s.. In some years, Kellman would lease her land to a rice farmer and the government would reward her with subsidy checks.. In other years she let her land lie fallow, and the government paid her that too.. She said, "I made $80,000 in one year for not farming.. If you look at mine and my husband's combined income, that's ridiculous.. It's like welfare for the rich.. (17).. Today America's family farmers are in a crisis.. Thousands of farm families are being forced off the land each year, but the agricultural establishment sees their exodus as inevitable, saying that those who fail are simply inefficient and unable to keep up with the changing times.. The only option farmers have been offered is to get big enough to be competitive, get corporate contracts to reduce risks, or get out of farming.. Subsidies Evade Family Farmers.. After the Great Depression, government policies were designed to reduce risks to family farmers.. Crop insurance and disaster programs reduced production risk, and a variety of price and income support programs, plus set-aside programs that paid farmers to remove excess land from production, reduced price risks.. But the 1996 Farm Bill, based on the US commitment to international trade agreements, eliminated price and income supports and replaced them with annual income payments, to be phased out on a fixed declining schedule over seven years.. Taxpayers may not realize it, but the money they send to Washington is hastening the demise of family farms  ...   has declined by two-thirds in the US, while the area in farmland acres has remained the same.. (48).. The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor has projected that the number of people engaged in family farming will decrease from 1,307,712 in the year 1998 to 1,135,018 in 2008, a 13.. 2 percent decrease.. This is the largest projected job loss among all occupations in 1998 - 2008.. (49).. Farming towns are in deep poverty.. The newest data on income levels in each of the nation's 3,110 counties from the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, shows that only one among the poorest 50 counties is a metropolitan county; most are very rural, agriculturally dependent counties.. (50).. The average farm-operator household in 1990 earned 14 percent of its income from the farm and the rest from off-farm employment.. In the same year, 22 percent of US farm-operator households had incomes below the official poverty threshold, twice the rate of all US families.. (51).. Not finding economic opportunities in farming and rural areas, younger generations are leaving farming and rural towns.. The United States now has more prisoners than farmers.. According to the Washington-based Justice Policy Institute the American prison population recently topped two million.. According to the last farm census, there were 1.. 9 million farms in the US.. In other words, there are more people behind bars that there were behind the wheel of a tractor.. (52).. An aging trend has also been observed in the farm and ranching population.. (53).. According to the 1997 Census of Agriculture, between 1992 and 1997 the number of farmers and ranchers age 25 or younger decreased by 25 percent, and the number aged 25 to 34 decreased by 28 percent.. (54).. According to the government statistics, nearly half of all the US farmers are older than 55 - the average age is 53 - while just eight percent are younger than 35.. The fundamental reason for the existence of most rural communities is to support those engaged in agriculture.. But it takes people, not just production, to support a community.. Larger farms tend to bypass rural communities in buying the production inputs and marketing their products.. Also a rural community is far more than a rural economy.. It takes people to fill the church pews and school desks, to serve on town councils, to justify investments in health care and other social services, and to do the things that make a community.. The decreasing number of family farms chronicles the deaths of rural communities, where family farm dollars paid to equipment dealers, grocery stores, and gas stations recirculated through the local economy four times.. (55).. Opportunity for Change.. American family farmers, the supposed beneficiaries of the trade agreements, marched with the workers and environmentalists in Seattle and put the issue of the globalization of agriculture on the agenda of social and economic justice.. Leland Swenson, president of the National Farmers Union at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing said, "the outcome of previous trade talks - coupled with the Freedom to Farm program - have left US farmers and ranchers too exposed to the volatile global marketplace.. The changes have put US producers at a disadvantage compared to competitors.. The turbulent market has left family farmers and ranchers hanging by a thread.. We will strongly oppose any effort to limit the level of direct aid governments may provide to producers.. (56).. This opposition to proposed trade rules is growing.. At the Rally for the Rural America held last year in Washington, DC, family farmers and grassroots organizations came together to provoke congressional action on America's deepening farm and rural crisis.. The diversity of organizations backing the rally signaled how widespread the concern is over the future of rural America.. The message of this growing resistance is clear: It is time to stop artificially expanding trade without regard for the consequences.. The 1996 Farm Bill, driven by America's obligations under the trade negotiations, was a complete failure.. It failed to generate export-led growth, and it transferred risks to farmers while cutting their income.. The costs implicit in future WTO and other trade negotiations are potentially huge.. These costs include the loss of livelihoods of tens of thousands of American farm families.. Given the absence of benefits, the American government should not trade away American family farmers' protections.. The model that drives overproduction in the US and drives American farmers off the land is the same model that drives peasants off the land in the Third World.. (57).. For a fraction of the amount American taxpayers currently pay, it should be possible to design a system that preserves family farming and builds a healthy rural America without damaging the ability of farmers in other countries to make a living.. The growing opposition is beginning to build a blueprint for the New American Farm - based on the multifunctional aspect of agriculture, which produces both public and private goods and services.. The nation's agriculture should provide national food security.. This would guarantee that no nation is starved into submission by another nation.. Agriculture should ensure national food equity so that no one goes hungry regardless of ability to buy food.. Agriculture should be designed to protect the natural environment, to protect the soil, earth, air, and water that are absolute necessities of life on earth.. All of these are legitimate public goods and services, invaluable to society, but cannot be provided by the private economy of free trade.. References.. www.. cairnsgroup.. org/meetings/min22_communique.. html.. "Bush Argues for Food Exports," Associated Press, June 22, 2001.. Roger Bernard, "Washington Watch: Bipartisan Push for Trade Promotion Authority,".. agwatch.. , August 27, 2001.. Ibid.. 5.. Aileen Kwa and Walden Bello, "Guide to the Agreement on Agriculture: Technicalities and Trade Tricks Explained," Focus on the Global South, December 1998.. 6.. 7.. "A Time to Act: Report of the USDA National Commission on Small Farmers," USDA National Commission on Small Farmers, January 1998.. 8.. Steve Suppan, "How Will the Free Trade Area of the Americas Impact Agriculture?," Institute for Agriculture and Trade, 2001.. 9.. Sophia Murphy, "US Agricultural Trade Policy and WTO, "Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, April 1998.. 10.. "Guide to the Agreement on Agriculture," op.. cit.. 11.. Gigi DiGiacomo, "Agricultural Market Liberalization in the United States," Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, October 1998.. 12.. 13.. "How Will the Free Trade Area of the Americas Impact Agriculture?," op.. 14.. "House Approves $5.. 5 Billion in Emergency Aid for Farmers," The New York Times, June 27, 2001.. 15.. Steve Suppan, "Agriculture and Food Security Under the Free Trade Area of the Americas Negotiations," Institute for Agricultural Trade and Policy, 1998.. 16.. "US Agricultural Trade Policy and WTO," op.. 17.. "Farm Aid Crops Up in Unlikely Pockets," Chicago Tribune, July 3, 2001.. 18.. 19.. "Most Farm Aid Goes to the Powerful," Associated Press, September 10, 2001.. 20.. 5 Billion in Emergency Aid," op.. 21.. "Presidential Candidates Propose Farm Remedies in Iowa," CNN.. com, August 4, 1999.. 22.. "Farm Activists Report Successful Seattle Protest Events," WTOWATCH.. org, December 7, 1999.. 23.. William Heffernan, "Report to the National Farmers Union: Consolidation in the Food and Agricultural System," February 5, 1999.. 24.. 25.. "Corporate Farming Notes," Center for Rural Affairs, September 2001.. 26.. 27.. "Globalization, Inc.. Concentration in Corporate Power: The Unmentioned Agenda," ETC Group communiqué, July/August 2001.. 28.. "Corporate Farming Notes," op.. 29.. Karen Lehman and Al Krebs, "Control of the World's Food Supply," in The Case against the Global Economy, eds.. Jerry Mander and Edward Goldsmith (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1996).. 30.. "Ventura to Push Farm Agenda in June Trip to Washington," Star Tribune, June 8, 1999.. 31.. 32.. "Table 4: Indexes of Prices Received and Paid by Farmers, US Average," Economic Research Service/USDA,.. ers.. usda.. gov/publications/agoutlook/may2000/ao271k.. pdf.. 33.. "Crop Agriculture Faces Long-Term Price and Income Problems," testimony of Daryll E.. Ray before the House Committee on Agriculture, February 14, 2001.. 34.. "Table 2: US Agricultural Exports: Quantity and Value of Major Commodity Groups, October-September 1980/1981-1999/2000," Economic Research Service/USDA,.. gov/data/fatus/data/fy2000/table2.. htm.. 35.. "Total Value of US Agricultural Trade," Economic Research Service/USDA,.. gov/data/fatus/otherfatusdata.. 36.. Robert Scott, "Exported to Death: the Failure of Agricultural Deregulation," Briefing Paper No.. 86, Economic Policy Institute, 2000.. 37.. "Exported to Death," op.. 38.. "Economic Good Times Not Rolling Down on the American Farmers," CNN.. com, June 30, 1999.. 39.. "A Fair Income For Farmers," Agricultural Outlook, Economic Research Service/USDA, May 2000.. 40.. "Farm Income Down in 2000," Agricultural Outlook, Economic Research Service/USDA, May 2000.. 41.. Net farm income is the difference between cash receipts and cash expenses.. This cash-based concept measures the total income farmers receive in a given year, regardless of the year in which the market output was the produced.. It indicates the availability of funds to cover expenses such as operating costs, finance capital investments and savings, service debts, maintaining living standards, and paying taxes.. 42.. "Farm Income Down in 2000," op.. 43.. "Agriculture and Food Security Under the Free Trade Area of the Americas Negotiations," op.. 44.. The Global Banquet: Politics of Food, video, Maryknoll Productions, 2001.. 45.. "Hard Economic Times Bring Depression, Shame for Struggling Farmers," CNN.. com, May 25, 2000.. 46.. "A Time to Act," USDA National Commission on Small Farms,.. reeusda.. gov/agsys/smallfarm/report.. , January 1998.. 47.. "The Case for Redirecting US Farm Policy," Center for Rural Affairs,.. http://www.. cfra.. org/resources/case_for_redirect.. 48.. Neal Peterson and Nora Brooks, "The Changing Concentration of US Agricultural Production During the Twentieth Century" Fourteenth Annual Report to Congress on the Status of Family Farm, no.. 27, Economic Research Service/USDA, July 1993.. 49.. "Farmers Projected to Have Largest Job Loss in 1998-2008," Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, stats.. bls.. gov/opub/ted/2000/feb/wk2/art02.. 50.. "The Latest Data on Rural Poverty," Center for Rural Affairs,.. org/newsletter/2001_07.. htm#The%20Latest%20Data.. , July 2001.. 51.. "Control of the World's Food Supply," op.. 52.. "Prisoners and Plowshares: Who Will Feed the Inmates?" Rural Advancement Foundation International, August 31, 2000.. 53.. "Cultivating a New Generation of Farmers and Ranchers," Center for Rural Affairs, June 2001.. 54.. 55.. 56.. "NFU says WTO Agenda Must Preserve the Right to Set Domestic Farm Policy," WTOWATCH.. org, October 1, 1999.. 57.. Peter Rosset, "The Multiple Functions and Benefits of Small Farm Agriculture in the Context of Global Trade Negotiations," Food First Policy Brief No.. 4 (Oakland, CA: Institute for Food and Development Policy, 1999).. Originally published as a Food First Backgrounder Fall 2001 Vol 7.. No.. # # #..

    Original link path: /node/2202
    Open archive

  • Title: Land Deal Brief: Deciphering Emergent’s Investments in Africa | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Land Deal Brief: Deciphering Emergent’s Investments in Africa.. Emergent Asset Management (Emergent), a private limited liability company based in the UK and minority owned by Toronto Dominion Bank, claims to be managing the largest agricultural fund in Africa.. Using private equity to invest in industrial agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa, Emergent is however, a prime example of the troublesome rise in speculative  ...   Investment Deals in Africa.. Publications Overview.. Cameroon.. Ethiopia.. Mali.. Mozambique.. Sierra Leone.. South Sudan.. Tanzania.. Zambia.. AgInvestment Conferences.. AgriSol Energy LLC.. Emergent Asset Management.. Nile Trading Development.. Quifel Natural Holdings.. World Bank Group.. Land Deals Featured Media.. Interactive Land Matrix – Resource in Documenting Land Grab across Africa.. Humanitarian News.. Ethiopia: The Morality of Development and its Operatives.. ECADF.. view all..

    Original link path: /land-deal-brief-deciphering-emergent%E2%80%99s-investments-africa
    Open archive

  • Title: Land Deal Brief: Malibya in Mali | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Land Deal Brief: Malibya in Mali.. The Malibya project established by the Libyan Africa Investment Portfolio secures 100,000 hectares of fertile land for Libya within the borders of Mali.. The land, located in the Office du Niger, comes free of charge for 50 years.. Libya intends to build the necessary agro-industrial infrastructure (e.. g.. canals and roads) in order to cultivate rice and cattle in the region.. OI_Malibya_Brief..

    Original link path: /land-deal-brief-malibya-mali
    Open archive

  • Title: Land Deal Brief: EmVest Asset Management in Matuba, Mozambique | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Land Deal Brief: EmVest Asset Management in Matuba, Mozambique.. EmVest Asset Management is a joint venture between Emergent Asset Management and Grainvest, a subsidiary of the RussellStone Group.. Based out of Pretoria, South Africa, EmVest operates the African Land Fund (ALF) and lists social responsibility as a guiding tenet of its investment strategy, citing a desire to bring “economic uplift to communities through commercially viable, first world practices.. OI_Emvest_Brief..

    Original link path: /land-deal-brief-emvest-asset-management-matuba-mozambique
    Open archive

  • Title: Land Deal Brief: Quifel International Holdings in Sierra Leone | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Land Deal Brief: Quifel International Holdings in Sierra Leone.. Quifel International Holdings (QIH) is the Lisbon-based personal holding of businessman Eng.. Miguel Pais do Amaral, a Portuguese aristocrat, businessman, and former majority owner of the Media Capital Group.. OI_Quifel_Brief..

    Original link path: /land-deal-brief-quifel-international-holdings-sierra-leone
    Open archive

  • Title: Debunking Five Myths About the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA) | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Debunking Five Myths About the Korea-U.. S.. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA).. Korus_Fact_Sheet..

    Original link path: /content/debunking-five-myths-about-korea-us-free-trade-agreement-korus-fta
    Open archive

  • Title: Facing Goliath: Challenging the Impacts of Retail Consolidation on our Local Economies, Communities, and Food Security | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Facing Goliath: Challenging the Impacts of Retail Consolidation on our Local Economies, Communities, and Food Security.. facing_goliath..

    Original link path: /content/facing-goliath-challenging-impacts-retail-consolidation-our-local-economies-communities-and
    Open archive

  • Title: Biotech Crops and Foods: The Risks and Alternatives | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Biotech Crops and Foods: The Risks and Alternatives.. Sunday, April 30, 2006.. The Oakland Institute joins the Reclaim the Commons, civil society's response to the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) Convention in Chicago from April 8th-12th.. BIO is a group of the world's biggest agribusiness, pharmaceutical and bioweapons corporations.. New Publications from the Oakland Institute.. Biotech Crops and Foods : The Risks and Alternatives.. by Fellow Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero.. The raging worldwide controversy over genetically engineered (GE) crops and products continues to grow.. Proponents claim these novel crops are helping feed the hungry, improve the economic situation of farmers and make agriculture more environmentally sound.. But a growing number of critics, which include environmentalists, farmers, intellectuals, indigenous peoples, students, academics, biologists, agronomists and people from all walks of life and from all over the world, hold  ...   record of genetic engineering in agriculture.. Summary of the Conclusions and Recommendations of the WTO Dispute Panel Interim Report on GMOs.. , By Senior Fellow Lim Li Ching.. On February 28, 2006,.. Friends of the Earth Europe.. published a leaked copy of the secret draft ruling in the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute over GM foods.. The US, Canada and Argentina launched a legal challenge against the EU in May 2003, claiming that EU measures to protect consumers and the environment from the risks posed by GM food and crops constituted a trade barrier in GM products.. Read a Summary of the Conclusions and Recommendations of the WTO Dispute Panel Interim Report on GMOs.. Download the Leaked WTO Report:.. Descriptive.. (pages 1-248).. Findings.. (pages 249-1050).. Schedule of Events at Reclaim the Commons.. Related Links..

    Original link path: /node/2438
    Open archive

  • Title: Why We Oppose CAFTA-DR | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Why We Oppose CAFTA-DR.. Sunday, May 1, 2005.. Action Alert on CAFTA -DR.. Compiled by Shannon Laliberte with Ambika Chawla*.. Under current law, legislators can only vote yes or no on the pact — they cannot amend it… [CAFTA] has become a referendum on broader trade policy that many House Democrats, organized labor and some Republicans believe is fueling a growing trade deficit and harming U.. workers.. The opposition, so far, has been too much for the administration to overcome.. ‘I can't see the president taking it to Congress until he has the votes.. If he had the votes, he would have sent it already,….. CAFTA-DR (Central America- Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement) grew out of the Bush administration’s failure to advance negotiations in the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), designed to extend North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to the Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras (all three have officially ratified CAFTA to date), Nicaragua and Costa Rica.. On August 5, 2004, the Dominican Republic signed onto the agreement, thereby making it the Central America- Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).. CAFTA-DR promises improved worker well-being, respect for workers’ rights, as well as abundance to farmers, consumers and corporate America; additionally, proponents promise that ratification of CAFTA-DR would result in “level[ing] the playing field for American workers, farmers and businesses and strengthens democracies in our neighborhood.. Unfortunately that has not been the case for CAFTA-DR’s predecessor, NAFTA, whose policies have resulted in hundreds of thousands of Mexicans, Americans and Canadians losing their jobs, thousands of family farms facing foreclosure and public interest laws taking a back seat to secret NAFTA court negotiations and rulings.. The FTAA was the initial effort to expand NAFTA throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean (excluding Cuba); negotiations started directly after NAFTA was ratified in 1994 and were supposed to be finished by January 2005.. CAFTA-DR was designed to ease the rest of the Western hemisphere into the integrated market and the Bush administration is putting increasing pressure on the countries of Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina to either amend the agreements now or be left out all together.. FTAA negotiations have not been successful due to strong resistance from social movements as well as opposition from national governments throughout the continent.. CAFTA-DR faces the same opposition.. Corporate America, the real beneficiary of any of the free trade agreements with the Central American countries, is anxious for Congress to approve CAFTA-DR by May of 2005; additionally, numerous ambassadors from the CAFTA countries are courting U.. corporate interests and Congress in support of the agreement.. Labor rights, human rights and environmental rights groups are just some of the organizations at the forefront of the resistance movement against the ratification of CAFTA-DR.. Additional groups fighting CAFTA-DR’s ratification are the textile and sugar industries, thereby ensuring some normally pro-trade Republicans will also not support CAFTA-DR.. Central America Is Not For Sale!.. A Central American-wide coalition of trade unions, peasant and indigenous organizations, women’s and environmental groups, and non-governmental organizations have joined forces against CAFTA-DR to declare that Central America Is Not For Sale.. They are demanding their right to defend alternative models of social and economic development benefiting the majority of people in their countries and not multinational corporations.. • In El Salvador, recent national elections saw the resistance against the politicians most closely tied up with big business challenged by a close race; although they lost, the people were not discouraged.. The resistance movement is strong, with 500,000 people (led by doctors intent on maintaining equitable healthcare access for all), filling the streets of El Salvador determined to demand that their government heal their communities from the devastations of war with jobs and prosperity.. According to Dr.. Ricardo Navarro, Director of CESTA: Friends of the Earth El Salvador, “That has not turned out to be the case.. So now people are getting organized again and I see the flames coming.. It's like there was a big fire 20 years ago.. Now the fire is just starting again, but you know, flames spread quickly in the right conditions.. This is what is happening in El Salvador.. ”.. • El Salvador’s public sector unions have been working to prevent the privatization of public services such as electricity and health care.. These workers are not giving up despite being attacked by the riot police and the pressure of their constitutional rights stripped in order to coerce them to desert their unions.. • On March 15, 2005 two protestors in Guatemala (Colotenango, Huehuetenango) were killed and at least 25 injured when the Guatemalan military fired into a crowd of workers, teachers and farmers demonstrating for human rights.. What spurred the protests was the March 10th ratification of CAFTA-DR by the Guatemalan Congress.. Rowdy protestors took to the streets on March 14, 2005 demanding that CAFTA-DR not be given final approval by the Guatemalan president.. The government responded by guaranteeing that a dialogue process would be initiated but by March 15 2005, President Oscar Berger went back on the agreement and finalized his approval of CAFTA-DR.. Compañero Juan López Velásquez murdered by police,.. March 15th, 2005 in Colotenango, Guatemala.. • Opposition in the United States is growing as well: protestors disrupted CAFTA-DR talks in Cincinnati, New Orleans, Houston and Washington, D.. C.. Opposition efforts have already succeeded in upsetting recent FTAA negotiations and it is hoped that these small successes will lead to the defeat of CAFTA-DR.. • Early May 2005, the Bush administration suffered a setback in its efforts to win Congressional approval for the Central American Free Trade Agreement, after an influential group of pro-free trade Democratic lawmakers came out against the deal.. The House New Democrat Coalition, which has traditionally supported trade deals, said the deal provided inadequate guarantees of workers' rights in Central America and condemned the administration for cutting support for U.. workers displaced by trade.. “Free trade cannot simply mean reducing barriers,” said Ellen Tauscher of California, chair of the New Democrat Coalition.. “We are ardent supporters of free trade but this deal reduces our ability to enforce labor standards.. This Opposition Is Not New.. • In July 2002, the third of three regional Mesoamerican Forums (this time held in Managua, Nicaragua) brought together 1,200 delegates and observers of more than 350 organizations of civil society throughout Central America in an effort to discuss alternatives to the proposed detrimental development schemes of CAFTA-DR and the Plan Puebla Panama (PPP).. It was agreed that mass coordinated direct actions would be carried out throughout five Central American countries and parts of the United States on October 21, 2002.. Nearly 40,000 protestors were part of the coordinated disruptions throughout the Central American region.. 23,000 people from Mexico City to San Jose, Costa Rica were in the streets protesting under the banner "The Call of the Excluded.. " 11 different actions were carried out and succeeded in closing down four of El Salvador’s major border highways and bridges essential to commerce in El Salvador.. • In addition to organizing the coordinated October 12th protests, the meeting in Managua resulted in a very clear declaration of resistance by opposition groups, asserting:.. “We have agreed to a total rejection of the Plan Puebla Panama, the FTAA and the free trade agreements, because we are convinced that they are contrary to the sustainable development of our people, ruin biodiversity, deepen poverty and increase the debt.. Likewise [these plans and agreements] are an expression of the interests of the US government, which is intent on building a free trade zone at its service and that of the multinational corporations, to the detriment of our most fundamental rights.. (emphasis in original).. • It is estimated that over at least 100,000 small farmers demonstrated in Mexico City on January 31, 2003 to demand that NAFTA’s agricultural provisions be renegotiated.. This resistance does not bode well for CAFTA-DR!.. General Facts About CAFTA – DR.. 10 years of NAFTA have shown just how devastating these agreements can be for working families and the environment.. In the maquilladora zones along the US-Mexico border, wages are low, union organizing is suppressed, and industrial pollution has dramatically increased cases of hepatitis and birth defects among workers.. NAFTA should be repealed, not expanded.. • According to Kevin Gallagher, research associate at the Global Development and Environment Institute at the Tufts University “The U.. Congress should also think twice before ratifying CAFTA.. According to the U.. government, CAFTA will only benefit the U.. economy by one hundredth of one percent after it is fully implemented… A more recent study conducted by two researchers at Yale University examined the relationship between investment agreements and investment flows in the world economy… What they found was a negative relationship.. The countries that had signed investment agreements with the U.. government received less investment.. The best way for CAFTA to help the U.. economy is to ensure that Central American countries develop their economies so they can import more U.. products in the future.. Without the type of investment that boosts the growth of the domestic market, that development won’t occur.. Gunshot victim at CAFTA protests on March 15th, 2005.. in Colotenango, Guatemala.. • The U.. proponents of CAFTA-DR have focused on the benefits that America will experience economically with open trade with these countries.. History however makes it clear that CAFTA-DR will only further the trade deficit that the U.. has experienced since 1997 due to trade with these countries—NAFTA increased the deficit and so will CAFTA-DR!.. • Turnaround exports to the Central American countries during the period of 1997 to 2004 rose nearly 60%; that’s much lower than the 234% increase in the U.. global trade deficit.. Despite all of the accolades of CAFTA-DR, the evidence is not there to substantiate proponents’ claims of economic benefit.. • Central American domestic industries are in cahoots with foreign industry and are just as adamant about getting CAFTA-DR passed as is the Bush administration and the corporate interests here in the U.. Central American governments are pushing three issues for support of CAFTA-DR, claiming that the agreement will not provide charity, rather it will provide opportunity to the Central American countries and its citizens:.. CAFTA-DR will bring more jobs to Central American countries, which suffers from high unemployment rates.. CAFTA-DR will ensure competition which will result in increased efficiency and productivity.. CAFTA-DR will ensure that goods and services will be cheaper.. The truth behind claims that CAFTA-DR will increase export revenues for Central American countries is that it will probably only increase exports from enterprises that specialize in low wage labor (i.. , maquilladoras).. Local small agricultural enterprises are very concerned because CAFTA-DR will more than likely result in their destruction, due to the competition with foreign agribusiness that is better funded through subsidies.. • CAFTA-DR proponents talk of increased foreign investment in Central American countries if the agreement is accepted, but experience with NAFTA proves that the increased economic efficiency of a country does not illicit increased capital flows to the countries.. Rather the only real source of capital flowing into the countries out of foreign markets are the monies sent home by those who have migrated out of their communities looking for the promised jobs.. •Passing of CAFTA-DR will lead to the expansion of the stalled free trade agreement throughout all of Latin America and the Caribbean countries (excluding Cuba) called the Free Trade Area of the Americas, or FTAA.. Currently, Venezuela, Brazil and other South American and Caribbean countries have stood in strong opposition to the FTAA and have succeed in disrupting recent FTAA talks.. • The CAFTA-DR is being  ...   create more of the same.. • According to Alan Tonelson, of American Economic Alert, “Outsourcing is the real result of CAFTA-DR; this current agreement is just the latest in a series of pacts that result in exporting manufacturing to low labor-cost countries and selling the output to the United States.. Despite the numbers reported by the U.. government as to the importance that CAFTA-DR countries provide to the U.. export economy, Tonelson says that they actually represent a figure that is relative to the economy of the state of Connecticut—not as hefty a deal as the supporters of CAFTA-DR would lead us to believe.. Although the amount is still nothing to scoff at, the export commodities are termed “turnaround exports,” or rather they are not final products that are consumed abroad but instead are assembled and shipped back to the United States for consumption.. Tonelson’s main argument is that the assembling of these “piece products” used to be done in America but have since been outsourced to other countries, some of them being the Central American countries.. This has resulted in the loss of American jobs and has lowered wages.. CAFTA-DR would only serve to perpetuate and inflame this process.. Textile Industry is Hesitant to Back CAFTA-DR.. If the Bush administration had developed a trade policy with any sense of priorities, NAFTA or CAFTA-DR or any of the individual outsourcing agreements might have made sense on its own terms.. Instead, Bush, like his predecessor, has simply opened the U.. market to imports indiscriminately.. The results are an America strapped with dangerous debt levels and increasingly unable to produce and export itself back to long-term financial health.. It’s certainly not a record that Congress should reward by ratifying CAFTA-DR.. • The American Textile Manufacturers Institute claims that between 10 and 15 U.. textile mills will close immediately upon ratification of CAFTA-DR, meaning that thousands of U.. jobs would be lost.. ß The textile industry is the leading export commodity for the U.. with regard to the Central American countries.. Exports to the region reached $2.. 6 billion last year.. This industry is wary of CAFTA-DR because of the failures and unfulfilled promises of NAFTA.. Thousands of textile and apparel jobs shifted to Mexico with the ratification of NAFTA and created a 36% loss of jobs in the last four years and now only employs about 673,400 people.. • According to Roger Chastain, president of Mount Vernon Mills Inc.. , a Mauldin, South Carolina company which manufactures and exports denims, twills and fabrics used to make pockets and other garment linings, “CAFTA is just another way to give away U.. jobs.. ” Mr.. Chastain is concerned that the current preference for use of U.. -manufactured goods will be usurped by the CAFTA-DR provisions and consequently lead to foreign-import priority.. Small Farmers Will Be Replaced by Big Agribusiness!.. "Who's the winner here?.. They are America's producers.. CAFTA-DR would remove all tariff barriers which Central American countries now have on imported agricultural products.. This would allow cheaply grown and heavily subsidized U.. corn and other basic grains to flood local markets.. Small farmers in Central America, already devastated by the importation of cheaply grown U.. basic grains, years of drought, and the massive fall of coffee prices on the world market, would face the extinction of their livelihoods.. • CAFTA-DR will hurt family farmers in Central America.. The fact is that the majority of the duties that are currently in place are protective of the countries’ internal interests and economies.. With the ratification of CAFTA-DR those duties would be removed and the smaller countries would be forced to give preference to import crops, thereby putting local small farmers and agri-businesses (that produce the same crops) at the bottom of the priority list and ultimately out of business.. For example, Guatemala’s corn agri-business has been devastated by the influx of U.. corn into the local economy and has resulted in the destruction of many local farmers’ only source of income.. These policies have resulted in severe malnutrition and hunger in 102 of the 331 municipalities in that region.. • According to George Naylor, President of the National Family Farm Coalition “since the inception of NAFTA, over a million Mexican producers have been forced out of agriculture and it is estimated that up to 600 poverty stricken peasants leave their communities every day, heading to the United States to look for work.. • U.. State agricultural directors have officially denied support of CAFTA-DR, despite the Bush administration’s persuasions to support it.. During the recent February 21st Marketing and International Trade Committee meeting of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), the group voted unanimously to oppose CAFTA-DR.. The normally pro-trade NASDA has a good reason for opposing CAFTA-DR: in the words of Delaware Secretary of Agriculture, Michael Scuse, “… we're more concerned about how CAFTA affects farmers than how it affects trade…The point was to send a message… That message is, ‘I work for farmers who risk everything every day.. and I don't believe they're getting a fair deal in deals like this.. ’.. The Environmental Impact Will Be Devastating!.. Solid waste issues are another main point of contention of environmental rights groups; for example, maquilladora factories produce much waste and contribute excess loads of garbage to the local communities.. In Central American countries where the ability to deal with excessive amounts of waste is lacking, refusal to address these issues by the CAFTA-DR’s proponents, will have a devastating effect on the local communities.. • Under NAFTA the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi was forced to allow the U.. to build a toxic waste site, run by the U.. Metalclad Corporation.. According to NAFTA Chapter 11 regulations, the Mexican government was found to be guilty of seizing Metalclad’s property illegally, even though it had secured all appropriate permits to build the site.. Under Chapter 11, the Mexican federal government was required to pay the corporation $16 million in damages (plus interest).. We can expect more of the same from CAFTA-DR pro-foreign industry provisions.. • When small farmers are pushed off the land and forced to move into the urban centers, it leaves the precious rural areas vulnerable to development of roads and other destructive projects.. Additionally, this development and deforestation ecologically undermines the water supplies, which are already under threat of privatization.. 58.. • Local fishing industries are also being threatened.. As commercial zones are increasing and regulatory controls are undermined, allowing for larger enterprises to move into areas previously zoned solely for small fisherman and their use of larger nets.. This destructive practice not only catches more of the fish, it also sweeps up other species that have been left alone by small fisherman, like sea turtles.. This is just one example of the ways in which plant and marine biodiversity is gravely threatened by CAFTA-DR.. 59.. • CAFTA-DR provisions on investment assure foreign industries the same protections as domestic industries.. This is a huge problem since in many of the Central American countries there are no regulations preventing industries from destroying the environment in an effort to produce the goods they manufacture.. As a result, foreign investors and industries will not be encouraged to manage natural resources nor analyze their impact on the local environment.. 60.. • Through CAFTA-DR, biotech companies are able to circumvent the very weak rules that currently exist in many of the Central American countries; labeling is fought against as well, as it purportedly goes against trade treaties.. Drift contamination is a big concern for many environmentalists and farmers, but with the weak resistance from the governments the negative consequences of genetically modified crops will have to be suffered by these countries.. 61.. • The Multinational Monitor points out that the overwhelming prospects for profit lies in the hands of the corporations and one such means of doing so includes the opportunity to take money out of the region through harvesting of Central America’s rich biodiversity.. This is facilitated by the process of under-regulated intellectual property rights.. 62.. What You Can Do To Stop CAFTA-DR.. • Call your representatives today and urge them to uphold a public position against free trade negotiations that do not respect human rights, such as NAFTA, CAFTA-DR and FTAA.. • You can visit the United States House of Representatives website at.. house.. gov/writerep/.. to contact your representative by email.. Or you can call the Capitol switchboard at 1-800-839-5276 and ask the operator to transfer you to your representative’s office.. • You can also visit the official Stop CAFTA coalition website,.. stopcafta.. org/.. , to keep updated on the status of CAFTA-DR negotiations, as well as for accessing activist tips for stopping CAFTA-DR and for notification of direct actions in your community and abroad.. End Notes.. Sparshott, Jeffrey, “A Tough Sell,” the Washington Times,.. washtimes.. com/business/20050309-094631-4180r.. “Three CAFTA countries ratify FTA,” National Association of Wheat Growers Newsletter, 3/12/05,.. truthabouttrade.. org/article.. asp?id=3498.. “Free Trade Area of the Americas,” Global Exchange online, 4/15/05,.. globalexchange.. org/campaigns/ftaa/.. “CAFTA Negotiations Have Begun!” Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala,.. nisgua.. org/articles/cafta_negotiations_have_begun.. “An Invitation to Disaster Corporate Power and Central America’s Environmental Future Under CAFTA,” Multinational Monitor (Vol.. 25, Number 4), April 2004,.. http://multinationalmonitor.. org/mm2004/04012004/april04interviewnavarro.. Sweeney, John J.. , “A bad deal on free trade,” Boston Globe online, 3/21/05,.. boston.. com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2005/03.. “Demonstrators shot and killed by Guatemalan Army,” Global Exchange online, 3/16/05,.. org/campaigns/cafta/2929.. “Top Ten Reasons to Oppose the Central American Free Trade Agreement,” Global Exchange,.. org/campaigns/cafta/topten_cafta.. Pickard, Miguel, “PPP: Plan Puebla Panama, or Private Plans for Profit?” CorpWatch, 9/19/02,.. corpwatch.. php?id=3953.. Conrad, Erlinda, “23,000 mobilised in El Salvador on Oct.. 12,” Indy Media website, 10/14/02,.. nadir.. org/nadir/initiativ/agp/free/mexico/2002/1012el_salvado.. “October 12: World wide Protests,” Independent Media Center Chiapas, 10/14/05,.. http://chiapas.. mediosindependientes.. org/display.. php3?article_id=103470.. “CAFTA by the Numbers: What Everyone Needs to Know,” Public Citizen online,.. citizen.. org/documents/CAFTAbyNumbers.. Gallagher, Kevin P.. , CAFTA is False Promise,” International Relations Center, 3/21/05,.. americaspolicy.. org/commentary/2005/0503cafta.. Tonelson, Alan, “CAFTA: The Classic Outsourcing Agreement,” American Economic Alert, 3/7/05,.. americaneconomicalert.. org/view_art.. asp?Prod_ID=1311.. “Rep.. Rangel Reacts to Reported “Threat” from Administration Official to CAFTA Countries,” House of Representatives official Press Release website, 3/22/05,.. gov/apps/list/press/wm31_democrats/032205_rep_rangel_re.. “US-Central American Free Trade Agreement,” Washington Office on Latin America online, 2/16/05,.. wola.. org/economic/cafta.. “CAFTA’s Chapter 10: ‘A Threat to Local Autonomy,’” SHARE Foundation online, 5/18/04,.. share-elsalvador.. org/cafta/threat.. International Gender and Trade Network the Center of Concern, “Gender Impacts of CAFTA,”.. texasfairtrade.. org/documents/CAFTA/revised_caftagender_fs04.. “New Guatemalan Law and Intellectual Property Provisions in DR-CAFTA Threaten Access to Affordable Medicines,” Reuters AlertNet Foundation, 3/11/05,.. alertnet.. org/thenews/fromthefield/MSFIntl/111055303299.. “Free Trade Agreements: A Human Rights Perspective,” Washington Office on Latin America, 2/16/05,.. org/economic/econ_trade.. htm#gender.. “Pregnancy-Based Sex Discrimination in the Dominican Republic’s Free Trade Zones: Implications for the U.. -Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA): A Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper,” Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala, 4/04,.. org/articles/cafta_sex_discrimination.. Human Rights Watch, “CAFTA’s Weak Labor Rights Protections: Why the Present Accord Should be Opposed,” March 2004, A Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper, a copy of which can be found on the HRW website:.. http://hrw.. Gruenberg, Mark, “Retirement Security, CAFTA to Top Labor’s Legislative Agenda,” International Labor Communications Association, 3/4/05,.. ilcaonline.. org/modules.. php?op=modload name=News file=article.. Naylor, George, “CAFTA No Benefit for North American and Central American Family Farmers,” Our World Is Not for Sale Network, 2/17/05,.. ourworldisnotforsale.. org/regtrade/news/regtrade-news_021705_0.. “State Ag Directors Oppose CAFTA,” Illinois Farm Bureau, 3/8/05,.. http://ilfb.. aghost.. net/index.. cfm?show=4 id=13770.. Guebert, Alan, “Whacking CAFTA,” The Globe Gazette, 3/6/05,.. globegazette.. com/articles/2005/03/06/business/doc422a98dec402.. 63.. 64.. *Shannon Laliberte is the Research Associate at the Oakland Institute.. Ambika Chawla, a Fellow at the Oakland Institute, is the Coordinator of Friends of the Earth and Via Campesina's "Central America is Not for Sale" campaign..

    Original link path: /node/2315
    Open archive


    Archived pages: 861