Ask Congress to Oppose the Panama Free Trade Agreement

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Ask Congress to Oppose the Panama Free Trade Agreement

This petition had 316 supporters
Ani L. Schwartz started this petition to U.S. House of Representatives and

03/19/11 UPDATE: You can also sign the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign (OR-FTC) petition by taking the link below to their site - this petition is still open.
It is identical to the text on this ch.o petition except it is EDITABLE.
In any case, you need to click on "READ MORE" and scroll down to the bottom left of the "Overview" in order TO FIND the HIDDEN "LETTER" BUTTON.
(It's an EASTER EGG HUNT!!!! - or HIDE THE MATZO lol!) . . . sheeeeesh . . .

The U.S. Trade Representative and corporate lobbyists are pushing for passage of the Panama Free Trade Agreement -- a trade deal negotiated by the Bush administration that repeats many of the same problems as NAFTA and CAFTA. We need to voice our opposition before this proposal starts to move forward.

The PANAMA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT represents business-as-usual on trade, rather than the change that was promised to voters.  In trying economic times like these, the first significant act on trade of the new Congress and new President simply cannot be to pass one of President Bush's hangover free trade agreements.  The public deserves more.

Please write to your elected officials and urge them to oppose the Panama Free Trade Agreement.
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                                                                    EDITABLE PETITION TEXT:

SUBJECT: Please oppose the Panama Free Trade Agreement  

The American public is sick-and-tired of business as usual on trade.  This was expressed clearly in the last two elections, in which "fair trade" candidates replaced "free trade" incumbents in dozens of races.   

I was, therefore, surprised and distressed to learn that the U.S. Trade Representative has expressed interest in moving forward with the Bush administration-negotiated Panama Free Trade Agreement.   

Like many of the failed trade agreements before it, President Bush's proposed trade deal with Panama contains special rights for foreign investors; limitations of food safety; public procurement restrictions; inadequate protections for workers and the environment; harmful agricultural provisions; and constrained access to medications.   

Panama's status as a known tax haven that thrives on banking secrecy is also cause for concern. Panamanian banking law enables businesses to establish subsidiaries there with the purpose of evading U.S. taxes, and also aids in laundering money from drug cartels throughout the region.  Given the role that banking secrecy is playing in the current global financial meltdown, it is inappropriate to consider a trade agreement with a country that refuses to accept even the most basic norms of banking transparency and regulation.   
I would appreciate hearing your stance on this matter, and hope that you will communicate to your colleagues and with the U.S. Trade Representative that the Panama Free Trade Agreement is not an appropriate policy to be pushing.   




Several "free" trade agreements were signed by Pres Bush before he left office.  They were with Panama, So Korea and Columbia.  President Bush, however, never moved these to the next step, sending them to Congress, because he had no political capital and didn't want a controversial issue like any of these to threaten Republican seats in congress. 
But those days are over, but these trade agreements are still there.  We should expect that Pres Obama would not move these agreements forward due to his campaign rhetoric.  However, expectations are that Pres. Obama will move the Panama treat onto the Congress for its consideration soon.       
There are as many reasons to oppose this agreement as with all those which came before it.  AfD has opposed these agreements because they impinge on the ability of governments to govern, instead getting that power to private corporations.  NAFTA's chapter 11 gave private corporations the ability to sue a federal government to overturn a local, state, or federal law or regulation if that law or regulation placed limits on their profit-making abilities.  A foreign company could sue in a special tribunal even when a domestic corporation could not, thereby giving foreign corporations  greater power than domestic corporations.      

Recognizing that many domestic corporations operate on an international level with subsidiaries in Mexico, for instance, an American company, disliking an American law or regulation could have a Mexican subsidiary sue to overturn the law or regulation.       

And of course, there are many other reasons to oppose these agreements.  And many of those reasons are included in the following email from the Oregon Fair Trade campaign.       

Please contact your US Representative and Senator and tell them now that they should oppose any trade agreements which content NAFTA-style Chapter 11s or that do not include strong labor and environmental protection right in the agreement instead of being weak side agreements.      

Click on the link below for a web form to make your comments.  

From: "David Delk"
Date: 5 апреля 2009 г. 23:20  


The office of the U.S. Trade Representative has said it wants to move forward this year with the Panama Free Trade Agreement -- a trade deal negotiated by the Bush administration that repeats most of the same major problems found in NAFTA and CAFTA.  Bush's Panama FTA represents business-as-usual on trade, and is not the type of change that voters were promised.

Panama's Tax Haven Status: Panama's economy thrives on banking secrecy, and its "comparative advantage" rests on the ease with which U.S. companies can create subsidiaries there to evade U.S. taxes.  A Government Accountability Office study identified Panama as one of eight countries -- and the only current or prospective FTA partner -- that was listed on all of the major tax-haven watchdog lists.  Panama has long been a key target of the OECD and other tax transparency entities for its resistance to international norms in combating tax evasion and money laundering.  Given the role that banking secrecy played in the global financial meltdown, a trade agreement with Panama should be conditioned on much greater regulation and transparency within its financial sector.  

Undermining Democratic Policymaking:
  The investment chapters in the Panama FTA allow foreign corporations to challenge food safety rules, responsible land use decisions, environmental protection initiatives, banking regulations and other public interest policies as "barriers to trade" through closed trade tribunals that circumvent the U.S. judicial system.  Under NAFTA alone, more than 40 complaints, seeking $28 billion in damages, have already been filed against existing public policies.  The Panama FTA's procurement provisions further undermine U.S. "Buy American" and "Buy Local" purchasing preferences, and threaten procurement policies with environmental and social goals.  
Inadequate Labor and Environmental Standards:  The Panama FTA includes the modestly-improved labor and environmental standards of the Peru FTA, rather than the virtually non-existent standards of NAFTA and CAFTA.  Nonethless, the experience of the Peru FTA demonstrates that these standards are still far from adequate to protect working people or the environment.  The Peru FTA was implemented in early 2009 without Peru improving its labor law to meet International Labor Organization standards as supposedly required, and after Peru rolled back environmental protections that existed prior to the FTA's signing.  Stronger labor and environmental standards must be added to the Panama FTA's core text in order to avoid these clear failures.  
Increased Poverty Abroad:  Like NAFTA and CAFTA before it, the Panama FTA is expected to increase rural poverty by forcing small Panamanian farmers out of business in competition with subsidized food imports from U.S. transnationals.  For this reason, the FTA is expected to increase hunger, drug cultivation and undocumented migration.  In addition, Bush's FTA includes NAFTA-style provisions that undermine Panama's right to obtain affordable medications for its impoverished citizens.

Now is the time to let our elected officials know that a Bush-negotiated, NAFTA-style trade deal is not only bad economic policy, but also bad politics. 
Let your Members of Congress know you oppose the Panama FTA before they box themselves into corner by speaking publicly on its behalf. 
Write to Congress and the President at: 


  Distribute leaflets at any upcoming meetings and events. 
An ORFTC leaflet with information on why and how to oppose the Panama FTA is available to download and print at:

2.     Forward an email action alert. 
ORFTC has a ready-made action alert template for you to send to your personal contacts and any appropriate email lists. 
To get a copy, please email or cut-and-paste the text online at:

3.     Submit a Letter to the Editor.
For help drafting a personalized letter, email
You can also submit a Letter to your local newspaper from:

4.     Publish a newsletter article.  
Please contact ORFTC at for a template article to publish in your print newsletter or on your website.

5.     Mention the Panama FTA during meetings with elected officials. 
If you are meeting with any Members of Congress during the April recess, please mention your opposition the Panama FTA. 
For talking points and additional materials, email or call (503) 736-9777.

6.     Phonebank to mobilize opposition.  
ORFTC is looking for volunteers for a phonebank in Portland on the evening of Tuesday, April 14. 
We can also provide materials for any phonebank you organize. 

7.     Organize a rally against the “Bush Zombie FTAs.” 
If you are willing to help organize a rally in Portland, Salem, Eugene, Medford, Bend, LaGrande or elsewhere opposing the Panama FTA, please call (503) 736-9777.

If you want to stop the Panama FTA -- or simply care about the precedent set by President Obama's first major act on trade -- now is as good a time as any.


9/25/09 UPDATE ... FYI ... I just noticed that THERE IS NO FAIR TRADE CAUSE ON ANYMORE.

This post WAS shared between fairtrade, poverty, homelessness, humanitarianrelief & stopglobalwarming ...
I could not find it in the poverty cause ... but it is here somewhere I see ....
I do not know if it is still shared with the other cause that I originally shared it with????

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