Today Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME) introduced the Trade Reform Accountability, Development and Employment Act, or TRADE Act. WOLA applauds this initiative, which currently has 54 co-sponsors in the Senate and House of Representatives, as an overdue step to help protect vulnerable Latin American workers and peasants from the negative consequences of “free trade.”
The TRADE Act would require a review of existing trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Act (DR-CAFTA) and provide a process to renegotiate existing trade agreements if necessary.
The legislation also establishes clear principles on what must be included in future trade deals, including strong, enforceable labor and environmental standards, in order for the agreements to comply with U.S. law. Finally, it calls for clear benchmarks for what the trade agreement should accomplish in trading-partner countries, in addition to social and economic goals to be evaluated every five years.
“The TRADE Act is a first step in fixing a failed trade model that harms vulnerable sectors throughout Latin America, especially the rural sector,” said Vicki Gass, Senior Associate for Rights and Development at WOLA. She added that the bill “would subject labor provisions to the same dispute resolution and enforcement mechanisms as commercial provisions, which is important in countries where labor rights enforcement and significant sanctions against labor rights violators are weak and inconsequential.”
To see a copy of the trade act, click here.
Vicki Gass, (202) 797 2171