Friday, June 12, 2015

Sacrificing Our Values on the Alter of Free Trade

Per his Facebook page yesterday, Rep. Hanna "voted 'yes' on H.R. 2393, the Country of Origin Labeling Amendments Act of 2015."  
Country of origin labeling provisions were enacted in 2002 to require certain meat retailers to inform consumers of the country of origin on the product’s label. Shortly after the law was implemented, Canada and Mexico challenged it at the World Trade Organization (WTO). After years of appeals, the WTO issued a final ruling saying that the country of origin rule has a trade distorting impact by reducing the value and number of cattle and hogs shipped to U.S. markets. As a result, Canada and Mexico plan to subject certain U.S. markets to more than $3 billion in retaliatory tariffs . . .

This bill repeals country of origin labeling requirements for retailers of beef, pork, and chicken, at the final point of sale in order to prevent the imposition of these harmful tariffs.
So,  a law intended to inform the AMERICAN consumer is swept away because some Canadians and Mexicans don't like it? 

Who does Congress represent? Americans? or Canadians and Mexicans? 

It seems that our Congressman finds it appropriate for our country to change or debase its own values based upon reactions and threats from abroad. And, apparently, he is willing to subject our own sovereignty to a "world" organization's judgement! What will be next? 

Today "Fast Track" will be considered . . .  a protocol to subject future trade agreements negotiated by the administration to quick "up-or-down" votes with no opportunity for changes . . . and little opportunity for scrutiny.  I.e., that's why it is "fast track:"  These lengthy agreements with the potential to significantly affect everyday American life (like NAFTA has done since the 1990s) will go by so fast that there will be insufficient time to digest their contents.  

There are several "Free Trade" agreements pending that will be "Fast Tracked" if Fast Track goes through.  But there is a big problem with "Free Trade." It presumes that the world shares the same values when it does not. 

It is "Free Trade" notions which have allowed American companies to take advantage of the American Marketplace while avoiding costly American Laws (expressions of our values) by exporting American Jobs to overseas where goods ultimately destined for American consumers are made. 

"Free Trade" is not really "free" if we have to sacrifice jobs and values.

It will be interesting to see how Mr. Hanna and the other Congress Members vote on these issues.  If the vote on HR 2393 is any indication, Fast Track and the various pending agreements will be approved.  And then it will be clear that Congress does not represent Americans . . . nor even Canadians or Mexicans. . . .

Rather, it will have proven itself to be a mere functionary of the global corporatists who are the real beneficiaries of these agreements.

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