(en) Trade Bill......AGAIN!!!

Shawn Ewald (shawn@wilshire.net)
Sat, 1 Nov 1997 21:47:35 -0700

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------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Sat, 1 Nov 1997 15:48:51 -0800 (PST) To: Campaign for Labor Rights E-mail list <clr@igc.org> From: Mike Rhodes <clr2@igc.apc.org> Subject: Trade Bill......AGAIN!!!

Labor Alerts/Labor News a service of Campaign for Labor Rights 1247 "E" Street SE, Washington, DC 20003 <clr@igc.apc.org> (541) 344-5410 http://www.compugraph.com/clr


Like a Halloween prank from the vandals of free trade, the CBI-parity bill has crawled out of its crypt once again and is dragging its chains through the corridors of Congress. Yes, this IS the same bill that so many of you mobilized against this past week, causing it to be withdrawn. Yes, it IS just as urgent to defeat it again this week as last week. PLEASE, the thousands of you who made telephone calls to the House of Representatives last week: Your help is needed again on Monday.

As if all of the above were not confusing enough, the Fast Track bill will come up for a vote toward the end of this week. Look for yet another alert (to mobilize your support against Fast Track), which we will post early in the week. Thanks to all of you whose response to our several alerts is helping to prevent major damage being done by these trade bills.

***************************************** This bill comes up for a vote on Tuesday. *****************************************

House to Vote on Extension of NAFTA Benefits to Central America on Tuesday The House of Representatives has scheduled a vote for Tuesday afternoon, November 4,1997, on a bill that would provide more than $1 billion in trade breaks for Central American and Caribbean apparel exporters and multinationals but does nothing to ensure that these new trade breaks benefit maquiladora workers in the region. (maquiladora: assembly factory producing only for export) The measure, HR 2644, essentially extends to Central America and the Caribbean the trade benefits provided to Mexico's apparel sector under NAFTA. The bill does so by unilaterally expanding the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) trade program to include clothing. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Phil Crane, R-IL, has rejected requests to strengthen the worker rights provisions that currently exist under CBI. Central American trade unions believe that trade programs and agreements should include strong worker rights conditions. CBI-parity (or NAFTA-parity as it is also called) has been a top priority of Central American business and government leaders for three years who have argued that NAFTA's lower trade benefits have put the region at a trade disadvantage vis-a-vis Mexico. However, despite dire predictions when NAFTA was passed that their maquiladora sector would collapse unless they were given parity, the Central America clothing-for-export sector has continued to grow, although not as fast as Mexico's clothing exports. Contact your representative immediately, NO LATER THAN 5 PM EAST COAST TIME, MONDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 1997. Urge him/her to not support new trade breaks for Central America's maquiladora sector as proposed by HR 2644 until strong and adequate worker rights conditions are added to ensure that these trade breaks benefit Central American workers as well as exporters. Conditions to be added include an initial review and then an annual review of each nation's respect for basic worker rights as well as a system of sanctions that can effectively pressure specific or countries that violate basic worker rights.

The phone number for the House of Representatives: (202) 225-3121. When the operator answers, ask for the office of your representative.

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