On The 'Fast Track' To Free-Trade Dictatorship
The push to renew and even expand the President's 'Fast Track' trade authority-- wherein Congress can approve or reject free trade agreements negotiated by the White House without making any amendments-- has been criticized and slowed by large factions in Congress and elsewhere, much to the chagrin of Cheney, who has long fought single-handedly for the unchecked expansion of executive power and recently called for a push to renew the authority.
This 'fast track' trade authority-- in play since 1974, and largely coinciding with the growth of 'free trade' agreements, communities and unions, etc., including NAFTA and the overly-assuming Security & Prosperity Partnership-- must be renewed by Congress and expires July 1.
Not surprisingly, the Bush Administration has tried to place June 30 deadlines and otherwise hurry along various free trade agreements around the world.
However, India and South Korea have expressed reservations and resistance to such deadlines (but may still sign). Representatives of the United Arab Emirates hope free trade deals will work out when the authority is renewed.
South Korean president Roh, in an interesting choice of words, called for negotiations "carried out under mercantile principles."
Now Rep. Charles Rangel is urging members of Congress to renew that 'fast track' authority-- that after two separate opposition groups-- totalling 52 Democrats in Congress-- have approached Rangel about more closely analyzing trade agreements before granting authority.
"We must rethink fast-track to ensure that our agreements reflect our economy's strengths," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus
``Years of job killing trade agreements are taking their toll on workers and small business owners,'' Senator Sherrod Brown (D) added in a recent statement.
Hesitation to renew authority in Congress ranges, but centers around harmonizing labor, environmental and human rights condition standards first.
Criticism has not centered around globalization or governance itself--neither challenging the constitutional basis for transferring authority from the legislative branch to the executive, nor challenging the big ideas behind world trade and globalization itself.
Article I, Section 8 (clause 3) of the U.S. Constitution states that "Congress shall have Power To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations"
India says no June deadline for reaching trade accord
"NEW DELHI: Developing countries have not given any commitment to reach an agreement with developed nations on farm subsidies and tariffs in global trade talks by the end of June".....
“There is no commitment by India for this deadline. We have said we will make efforts depending on what is available on the table. If the contents are acceptable, then why wait till June?” Indian Trade Minister Kamal Nath told a news conference.
"US President George W Bush has “fast-track” power to negotiate a trade deal only until June 30 but the talks have been mired in disagreement...."
“In order to break the impasse, developed countries must make meaningful offers to reduce huge trade-distorting subsidies".....
"Launched in late 2001, the so-called Doha round of the World Trade Organization negotiations has been billed as an opportunity to lift millions out of poverty and boost the global economy through trade."....
US, UAE hopeful on free trade deal
"The United States and the United Arab Emirates still hope to reach a free trade agreement and plan to resume talks whenever the White House wins new "fast-track" trade negotiating authority, officials from both countries said on Monday."....
"Halliburton's decision to relocate its headquarters to Dubai comes one year after state-owned Dubai Ports World's purchase of some U.S. port operations triggered a political firestorm in the United States." ....
"The United States began free trade talks with the UAE two years ago, about the same time it began negotiations with another Gulf Arab country, Oman." ....
"One difficulty in the free trade talks is the UAE has "obviously had great success" in attracting foreign investment without a U.S. free trade pact, Donnelly said.".... [READ FULL STORY HERE]
Rangel Says Trade Negotiations Hampered by Wariness in Congress
"House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel said he is having a tougher time negotiating with his fellow Democrats over trade agreements than he is with the Republican Bush administration."....
"`The problem I've had to deal with is the terribly negative view trade has,'' among Democrats, Rangel said." ....
"Agreement on labor standards between Congress and the administration is crucial to the fate of these agreements as well as the renewal of President George W. Bush's ``fast-track'' trade negotiating authority, which expires at the end of June.".....
"A group of 25 freshman Democrats wary of the trade agreements under way met with Rangel March 9." .... [READ FULL STORY HERE]
'No Rush' in FTA Negotiations with US: Roh
"President Roh Moo-hyun told his government on Tuesday not to rush into an early conclusion of free trade talks with the U.S., which are now in their final stage. "Maybe we won’t bother signing the deal by the deadline,” Roh said, in apparent contradiction to the government's stated goal of clinching the deal by the end of March.
"We may choose to sign the deal if the country's economic interests are reflected properly, but scrap it if they’re not properly reflected in the final deal." He said it “would be good” if the FTA is concluded before the Bush administration's fast-track Trade Promotion Authority expires at the end of June. “But if we fail to settle it within this period, we can still continue despite some inconvenience."....
"Roh suggested settling for an 'intermediate or lower-level FTA'"....
"But any final deal should be soundly based on practical national and public interests. All the negotiations have to be carried out under mercantile principles."[READ FULL STORY HERE]
CHENEY PUSHES CORPORATE AGENDA February 15, 2007
SENATOR: TIME TO 'RETHINK' FAST-TRACK AUTHORITY February 15, 2007
BUSH WANTS "AUTHORITY" TO NEGOTIATE FREE-TRADE POLICIES February 23, 2007
GERMANY: CONSTITUTION AND TRADE AT TOP OF MERKEL'S EU AGENDA January 17, 2007
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