Free Trade Agreements – Do They Really Affect You?

We’ve noticed that some people’s eyes glaze over when we start talking about free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), also called the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

We’ve compiled this list to clarify who will be impacted. If none of the below apply to you, feel free to ignore these so-called free trade agreements.

You do not need to worry about how free trade agreements will affect you unless:

  • You have a job. (A recent study showed the TPP would mean a pay cut for 90% of US workers.)
  • You prefer to eat food that you know is safe and free of chemical residues. (TPP would require countries to accept food that meets only the lowest safety standards of the collective participants.)
  • You drink water and don’t want it contaminated through increased fracking. (TPP would limit the authority of local governments to restrict permits to extraction and export of liquid nature gas to partner countries, which could lead to an .)
  • You have a job in the manufacturing sector. (A 2011 report estimated a net loss of nearly 700,000 jobs, more than half in the manufacturing sector, due to NAFTA; TPP is expected to create a loss of a million jobs as companies shift work to low wage countries.  This means not only a loss of decent jobs in the US, but the creation of more undesirable jobs in countries where not only are wages low but workers rights are not protected.)
  • You are a family-scale farmer (or prefer to buy food from family-scale farmers). (After the passage of NAFTA, more than 2 million corn farmers in Mexico were forced off their land, imports of fruits and vegetables to the US increased making it more difficult for US farmers to compete in markets, and reports showed that incomes dropped for farmers in most commodities in Canada, the US, and Mexico. TPP is likely to have similar affects and family-scale farmers may lose income or their farms.)
  • You would like your local government or school to adopt a “buy local” policy to give preference in buying to local farmers and producers. (TPP would outlaw preferential buying clauses.)
  • You are a government official attempting to pass a domestic health, environmental, or economic policy to benefit citizens in your country and your country is sued by a foreign corporation to recoup loss of expected profits. (Minnesota-based Cargill sued the Mexican government under a provision of NAFTA—the North America Free Trade Agreement when Mexico tried to institute policies to restrict imports of corn syrup in order to support its own sugar farmers.)

If after reading this, you do think you might be affected by free trade agreements like TPP and TAFTA, please take action now. Let your Representative and Senators know that you are concerned. Because of the lack of transparency in this process, most have not even seen the text of the agreements.  Yet they will likely be asked to Fast Track it, that is to vote for or against TPP and TAFTA without a proper discussion. Let them know you oppose Fast Track and want your interests considered in a public debate.

Take Action:

Tell Your Representative and Senators You Want Fair Trade Not Free Trade…

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7 thoughts on “Free Trade Agreements – Do They Really Affect You?

  1. I am appalled that this kind of agreement can be railroaded through before the citizens of this country even know about it and can make up their minds about it. I do take generic cheaper prescr drugs and this would really affect me if this thing is passed. The farmers and workers of this world’s lives are already hard enough without something like this coming along to make it even worse!!!

  2. Remember King Midas, who wanted the ability to turn everything into gold at a touch. He thought wealth was everything, until his food and his daughter turned to lifeless gold at his touch. Then he found that wealth supports neither life nor love, and died of starvation, mourning for the loss of his dearest treasure, his little daughter’s love. Beware! this is the path of those who seek passage of the “Free trade Agreement”.

  3. I support Free Trade because I know this is the way to raise the world out of poverty. Sure if Companies have free reign of where to build their factories they will naturally chose locations that they can get cheap labor. However this would only be in the short or at most medium term. Eventually as the labor supply gets smaller wages will rise as Labor is like all other commodities. it is influenced by supply and demand. Capitalists will want the best skilled workers who cost the least and workers want the best paying jobs that provide the best benefits.
    Freetrade does not hurt anyone. As it allows for more competition it means that small businesses will survive if they can run efficiently.
    As a consumer I like to have choice of what I buy. A long as the product tells me what is contained in the product I want the choice of what to buy. I should have the right to make the decision of what I buy. Currently I have a boycott on US made goods . I am boycotting the US made goods and goods from any country that supports Sanctions on Iran, Russia, Belarus, and Cuba. I boycott any country that supports rebels trying to oust Bashar al-Assad who I am sympathetic to. I also boycott any state that supports Israel. This is why I look for the made in China. I can rest assured that I am buying from a country that does not support Israel if it says Made in China.
    The only ones who benefit from not allowing Free trade are corporations. Corporations do not want competition from the outside. Competition especially for unionized manufacturers means that they have to run more efficiently or go out of business. I would rather see all businesses in the USA go out of business and unemployment rate at 100% then to live somewhere with protectionist trade policies that take away my right to consume as i choose. Free trade is demonized by opponents because they believe that it will destroy jobs, and put small businesses out of business. Milton friedman says differently. He even stated there is no evidence of this and he supports a universal freetrade agreement.

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