Draft GPUS Platform Amendment Trade
Section Title: Trade
Subsection title: Fair trade, not corporate-managed trade
Our position: Greens support trade agreements that improve labor, environmental, consumer, health and safety standards.
"Free trade" is market capitalism for the profit of the investor. "Free trade" is not fair trade.
During the presidencies of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the United States pursued trade agreements that increased the profits of the world's largest multinational corporations at the expense of the environment, workers, consumers, family farmers, human rights and domestic sovereignty. Such trade agreements must be abolished, re-negotiated or replaced.
By contrast, Greens stand for fair trade.
Fair trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equality in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers –- especially in the Global South. Fair trade also prioritizes the needs of people and the environment over the needs of capital. Fair trade agreements are designed to primarily benefit workers, consumers, local economies and the environment, not corporate profits.
1. Replace the World Trade Organization (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) with new institutions that are democratic, transparent and accountable to people of all nations. Ensure that their operations follow sustainability principles and all international conventions on human and labor rights, and environmental protection.
2. Until the WTO, IMF and World Bank are replaced, implement reforms such as prohibiting the use of IMF/WB loans to impose structural adjustment programs that place debt service and export-led development ahead of, and at the expense of, social and environmental needs; and installing strict standards for grants and loans to prevent fraud, misuse, subversion of funds by recipient and often dictatorial, governments. Require a sustainability impact assessment of earlier WTO negotiation rounds before any new rounds are undertaken. Separate the disputes settlement mechanism from the exclusive competence of the WTO.
3. Restructure the loans made by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to cancel the debt of developing nations around the globe, where those nations cannot afford to repay without meeting their people's basic needs; or where those loans were made on unfair terms, including very high interest rate, payable in foreign currency; or where those loans went knowingly to dictatorial and/or or oppressive regimes and/or were stolen through corruption and/or were contracted illegally by evading a country's internal democratic processes; or where those loans were made for projects that failed because of bad advice or incompetence by the lenders, or were attempts to impose an inappropriate infrastructure upon the recipient county.
4. Re-negotiate international trade treaties and agreements that the U.S. is a signatory to, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and others, to respect, protect and improve (harmonize upward) labor, health, safety, consumer, environmental, human rights and animal welfare standards, and to support local economies and businesses, and sustainable agriculture.
5. Replace the existing anti-democratic US "fast track" trade agreement negotiation and approval process with a more transparent and inclusive process that requires far more substantive congressional involvement and oversight, and ensures the consultative involvement from state and local governments and organizations that represent labor, small business, health, safety, consumer, environmental, human rights and animal welfare.
6. Ensure that trade agreements do not infringe upon the rights of citizens to public ownership and control of their nation's resources. Ensure that basic access to food, social and public health, education, culture, and an independent media are not made 'commodities' subject to trade agreements. Ensure that trade agreements do not infringe upon native peoples' land and treaty rights, and their rights to determine the use of natural resources on their land.
7. Oppose trade agreements that infringe on the sovereignty of federal, state or local governments to make their own laws and set their own standards. Ensure that the federal government may not pre-empt the legitimate authority of the states to set higher labor, health, environmental and land use standards and regulations than the federal government, and that no trade agreements signed by the U.S. may circumvent this right. Repeal Chapter 11 in NAFTA that allow foreign-investors to challenge domestic public health, environmental and land-use policies as non-tariff trade barriers.
8. Oppose the presence of corporate welfare in trade agreements. Oppose the presence of special protections for pharmaceutical companies to curtail access to affordable generic medicines; service sector privatization and deregulation requirements; bans on "buy American" and anti-sweat shop or environmental procurement policies; and new rights and privileges for foreign investors to promote offshoring.
9. Require U.S. corporations that operate in other countries to guarantee their workers the same rights that American workers enjoy, including the labor standards established by the International Labor Organization's Declaration of the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
10. Address U.S. imports of goods exported from nations that lack protections equivalent to U.S. standards for labor, health, safety, and the environment by one or more of the following ways: restrict trade of goods and services that are not in keeping with these standards; levy social and/or environmental tariffs to internalize the difference in standards; consider inclusion of a social charter in each trade agreement guaranteeing workers common health and safety standards, collective-bargaining rights, and working conditions, with standards harmonized to the highest existing levels among treaty signatories; consider inclusion of an environmental charter in each trade agreement, with environmental laws and standards where they affect trade harmonized to the highest existing levels among treaty signatories. Combine such strategies with debt relief and/or financial aid to exporting countries so that these countries may more quickly raise their social and environmental standards to a high, common international level.
11. Require labeling of all imported genetically modified products.
2004 PLATFORM TEXT ON TRADE
We urge our government to do the following:
a. Re-formulate all international trade relations and commerce as currently upheld by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB), and the nascent Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) to protect the labor, human rights, economy, environment and domestic industry of partner and recipient nations so that the growth of local industry and agriculture has the advantage over foreign corporate domination.
b. Re-structure the rules of performance of the IMF/WB to end the debts of recipient nations, and to install strict standards in the IMF/WB that control the use of grants or loans to prevent fraud, misuse, and subversion of funds by recipient governments.
c. Re-write the rules for investment of corporate capital in projects operated under the IMF/WB to guarantee the rights of the citizens of the nations receiving the investment and their right to public ownership and control of their own resources.
d. Mandate and protect labor’s right to organize, create unions and negotiate with management in all countries receiving U.S. investment, and require U.S. corporations that operate in other countries to guarantee those workers the same rights that American workers enjoy.
e. Legislate and enable oversight by an independent agency or a labor union to verify that foreign workers’ rights are protected.
f. At home, secure the rights of our states to establish stricter standards for health, safety, and for the environment than those of our national government, and to protect themselves against substandard, imported goods.
g. Secure the right of states and municipalities to refuse to invest in foreign businesses that do not abide by their standards for imported goods, fair trade, and environmental protection.
h. Prohibit U.S. corporations from avoiding or evading payment of their taxes by banking abroad or locating their charters offshore.
i. Every day over $1 trillion dollars circles the globe in currency trade – wreaking havoc on low-economy nations – without obligation to sustainable investment. We seek to restrict the unfettered flow of capital and currency trade, and levy the Tobin tax of .05% on cross border currency transactions. [See section E. 2. Fair Taxation on page 62 in chapter IV]
j. We support the funding and expansion of non-government organizations (NGOs) in their missions to educate and train people of less developed nations in initiating local business and economic development, and in providing health care and family planning.
k. Under the agency of the United Nations, we demand that our government renew and initiate government funding and support for family planning, contraception, and abortion in all countries that request it.
l. We reject the U.S. government’s economic blockade of Cuba. We ask the U.S. Congress to lift the embargo and restore normal diplomatic relations and respect for national sovereignty, and demand that the U.S. government end its veto of U.N. resolutions pertaining to Cuba.