NAFTA AT 10 - NEVER AGAIN

Whereas, the year 2004 marks the 10th anniversary of the enactment of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and

Whereas, the U.S. Trade Representatives (USTR) is negotiating trade agreements that could have a greater potential impact on state and local governments than does NAFTA, including the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), numerous bilateral agreements, and expansion of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), and

Whereas, all of these international negotiations serve to shift power away from state and local governments and sectors such as small farmers and local businesses by including provisions on investment, procurement and trade in goods and services.

Whereas, this shift in power towards large corporate interests and away from citizens and local governments will serve to further the negative impacts of free trade on farmers and ranchers, and

Whereas, past agreements such as NAFTA and the Agreement on Agriculture(AOA) have already had devastating effects on farmers and ranchers in that the US farm trade surplus has declined dramatically. Farm income has declined and thousands of family farms have been lost. While corporate agribusiness has seen record profits; and

Whereas, between in the first six years of NAFTA U.S. average farmgate prices per bushel dropped 33 percent for corn, 42 percent for wheat, 34 percent for soybeans and 42 percent for rice, while production costs have continued to skyrocket; and

Whereas, in the U.S., 33,000 small farmers with annual incomes of less than $100,000 were forced out of business during the first seven years of NAFTA, a rate seven times higher than before NAFTA; and

Whereas, the proposed new trade agreements include foreign investor rights modeled after NAFTA as trade rules that could affect state and local authority in such areas as water services, electricity, health facilities, health insurance and zoning; and

Whereas, the U.S. Agricultural trade deficit with the five CAFTA countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua) was about $900 million and equals nearly 80 percent of the United States’ exports to the five nations; and

Whereas, the National Farmers Union, the Family Farm Defenders, the National Family Farm Coalition, and the American Sugar Alliance have declared their opposition to CAFTA, which will adversely impact domestic producers of sugar, fruit, vegetable, dairy and other commodities.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Texas Farmers Union declares its continuing opposition to unfair “Free Trade” agreements, including CAFTA and the FTAA; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Texas Farmers Union urges our Congressional Representatives to reject CAFTA and work for fair trade agreements that raise labor and environmental standards, and

BE IT FNALLY RESOLVED that the Texas Farmers Union supports activities such as the Anti-FTAA ballot, the Texas Fair Trade Coalition’s Anti-CAFTA drive and “NAFTA at 10” border delegation and rally.

Texas Farmers Union, P.O. Box 738, Sweetwater, Tx 79556