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From: INTERNET:email@example.com (Dale Wiehoff)
To: Patricia Dines, 73652,1202
Date: Sat, Dec 14, 1996, 10:52 PM
Subject: NAFTA & Inter-Am Trade Monitor
NAFTA AFFECTS HEALTH AND SAFETY
The North American Working Group on Sound Management of Chemicals, formed
by the NAFTA watchdog Commission on Environmental Cooperation, held
hearings in Mexico in late October on plans to eliminate mercury, PCBs, DDT
and chlordane from the North American environment. The working group will
present action plans to the U.S., Mexican and Canadian environmental
secretaries. DDT is widely used in Mexico for malaria control, and Mexico
also exported 21 tons of DDT to Colombia, Panama and Guatemala last year.
The action plan calls for 80 percent reduction in DDT use in five years and
elimination over 10 years.
The effect of NAFTA on workers' health and safety was the subject of a
panel discussion at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting
in November. Panelists pointed out that NAFTA is part of a continuing
process of globalization of economies under a neoliberal ideological
According to Professor Jorge Villegas of the Metropolitan Autonomous
University, Xochimilco campus, in Mexico City, aspects of this framework
include favoring large industry and transnational capital over small and
medium-sized enterprises; increasing productivity through use of technology
and elimination of workers' control over the labor process, accompanied by
elimination or erosion of the collective bargaining process; and control of
inflation at the expense of wage-earners and the unemployed by depressing
wages and advocating fiscal policies that discourage creation of new jobs.
Kevin G. Hall, "NAFTA Working Group Closer to Halting Use of 4 Chemicals,"
JOURNAL OF COMMERCE, November 4, 1996; "NAFTA and Occupational Health: an
International Perspective," MEXICAN LABOR NEWS AND ANALYSIS, 12/1/96.
FOUR MORE YEARS OF FREE TRADE?
As the Republican leadership returns to power in the 105th Congress,
opinion polls from Boston to Texas continue to show U.S. opposition to free
trade policy. Trade issues remain high on the Congressional agenda, with
the Clinton administration still seeking some kind of "fast track"
negotiating authority for trade talks.
Fast-track legislation would allow the Clinton Administration to negotiate
a free trade agreement, requiring that Congress vote yes or no on the
entire agreement, without amendments. Republicans refused last year to
approve any fast-track legislation that would allow inclusion of labor and
environmental provisions in a free trade agreement. The legislation will
need bi-partisan support, since organized labor and many Democrats oppose
Both Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman and the probable new chair of
the House Agriculture Committee, Bob Smith (R-OR) have heard farmer
discontent with free trade agreements. Dairy and poultry producers are
upset over the NAFTA arbitration panel's ruling upholding Canadian tariffs,
while wheat and beef producers blame NAFTA for price-depressing imports.
Smith would like to focus on increasing U.S. exports, particularly to the
Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs Jeffrey Davidow predicted an
early Clinton visit to Latin America and a push for some kind of fast-track
authority, but said that no decision has been made on whether to seek
fast-track negotiating authority for an agreement with Chile, the proposed
Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA), or on a global level.
Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade Stuart Eizenstat said
that the Clinton Administration hopes for progress on fast-track
negotiating authority by the mid-May FTAA trade ministerial.
Davidow called 1997 a critical "year of definition" for U.S.-Latin American
trade. "I am convinced," said Davidow, "that what we must do now very early
on . . . is to move quickly to get fast-track authority for Chile and get
NAFTA parity" for the Caribbean Basin. Caribbean nations want Congress to
grant them trade treatment on a par with that enjoyed by Mexico under
[**] The President must send to Congress by July a report on the economic
of NAFTA. The original NAFTA implementing legislation requires the
President to report on the "operation and effects" of NAFTA, including its
effect on the gross national product, employment, trade balance and current
account balance. The report must also evaluate whether NAFTA has
contributed to improving wages and working conditions in Mexico and Mexican
environmental and labor laws.
"Old Bottle - New Wine," CITIZENS' TRADE CAMPAIGN, November 26, 1996;
"Agricultural Trade Reclaims a Place on the Congressional Agenda," THE
WEBSTER AGRICULTURAL LETTER, November 15, 1996; "Senior U.S. Official Warns
1997 is Critical Year for U.S. on Latin Trade," INSIDE NAFTA, November 13,
1996; Scott Otteman, "Analysts Split Over Likely Role of Latin Trade in
Second Clinton Term," INSIDE NAFTA, November 13, 1996; "Eizenstat Calls for
Progress on Fast-Track Renewal by Early Spring," INSIDE NAFTA, November 27,
1996; "USTR-Led Study of NAFTA Impact May Affect Fast-Track Debate," INSIDE
NAFTA, November 27, 1996.