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News ::
FTAA Public Hearings
21 Feb 2002
These public hearings are designed as a grassroots education and mobilizing tool.

Campaign for Labor Rights is a member of the Alliance for Responsible Trade (ART), a national network of labor, family-farm, religious, women's, environmental, development and research organizations that promotes equitable and sustainable trade and development. ART has organized a series of public hearings on the FTAA to take place in cities across the Northeast
from March 20-30.

The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) is a proposed trade agreement that would extend the disaster of NAFTA to the entire hemisphere. The FTAA would expand corporate rights at the expense of human rights. The agreement will address traditional trade issues, like tariffs, but will also extend the rights of trans-national corporations in the areas of intellectual property rights and the ability of private corporations to sue governments.

The FTAA will make it more difficult for nations to establish labor and environmental protections, and could lead to privatization of important public services like education, water, transportation and health care. The FTAA represents the next potential step in a "constitutional" process in which corporations win broad new rights while the majority of working people are threatened with less democracy, less sovereignty and lower living standards. The FTAA could mark the culmination of a "free trade" agenda begun in the 1980s that has reduced the living standards of the majority of people in this hemisphere while improving the corporate bottom line. The FTAA will impact the lives of millions of people for generations to come, yet very little is known about this massive new trade agreement.

The Alliance for Responsible Trade (ART) is calling for a series of public hearings on the FTAA. Experts from Mexico, Chile, Brazil and the United States will make short presentations discussing the impact of "free trade" policies in their countries. Labor activists, local political leaders and others will discuss the impact of free trade in their communities. The hearings will also include a forum for open discussion.

Invited Guests Include:

Hector de la Cueva from the Mexican Action Network on Free Trade, the leading NGO in Mexico organizing around the impacts of NAFTA, will discuss lessons from NAFTA.

Fernando Leiva from Chile will discuss the impact of free trade policies on the southern cone.

David Kane, a Maryknoll lay missioner from Brazil who is working with the Brazilian Jubilee campaign to initiate a huge plebiscite in Brazil on the FTAA next year, will discuss popular opposition to the FTAA.

Marceline White, is the director of the Global Trade Program at Women's EDGE (The Coalition for Women's Economic Development and Global Equality). Marceline will discuss the impact of free trade policies on women.

Tom Hansen, director of grassroots organizing for the Alliance for Responsible Trade, will discuss the impact of free trade policies in the US.
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