So-called "free" trade agreements like NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) have rigged the rules of the global economy to benefit multi-national corporations while leaving everyone else-- workers, the environment, small farmers, and consumers-- behind. These trade deals are hundreds of pages long and are the playbook for the global economy.
Outsourcing has hit Maine hard-- we've lost over 30,000 manufacturing jobs since NAFTA passed in 1994. Think of Jay, Ashland, Brewer, and Millinocket, among countless other towns devestated by this job loss due to trade. Under free trade deals, companies get incentives to move production overseas where they can pay sweatshop wages, pollute the environment, and avoid safety standards.
Since NAFTA passed in 1994, Congress has passed more free trade deals just like it- the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and many others. The US is also a member of the World Trade Organization, which is basically a set of free trade agreements for the whole world.
Now Congress is debating three more NAFTA style deals- with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.
Workers in these countries do not benefit from free trade either, because they get very low wages and no benefits, and are treated very badly. Small farmers in these countries are forced off their land by the agricultural provisions in NAFTA style trade deals, and forced to look for work in sweatshops or to immigrate to other countries.
We join in solidarity with our brothers and sisters around the world in opposing these trade deals and the corporate globalization they facilitate.