TRADE BILL GOES ON FASTER TRACK
By William J. Gill
The Fast track legislation
aimed at merging the U.S. economy with all Latin America and expanding
the already disastrous trade with the rest of the world went on a much
faster track than expected in mid-June.
Rep. Philip Crane, the frenzied free-trade
“conservative” from Illinois, introduced the bill to give President Bush
dictatorial powers to negotiate the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)
and other treaties to enhance the authority of the anti-American world
Fast Track, now known by the euphemism “Trade
Promotion Authority” (TPA), was projected for a House vote in November.
But Crane’s Arizona Republican colleague, Rep. Jim Kolbe, announced the
vote could come as early as before the August Congressional recess.
This adds a heightened urgency to ACCT’s efforts to
educate the public and the Congress on the real dangers that would
descend upon the country from a Fast Track bill that would produce FTAA
and more power for the WTO.
Unless contributions improve substantially this month,
America is in for a repeat performance of the 1991 Fast Track
legislation that gave us NAFTA and the global GATT treaty which created
the arrogant WTO which is slicing America’s sovereignty like
The White House strategy for passing Fast Track is
openly revealed by Robert Zoellick, the President’s Trade Representative
on TV talk shows and in the print media. He is zeroing in on specific
constituencies that might be bought off with promises of government aid
or even protectionist actions.
Bush filed a Section 201 trade case in June on behalf
of the steel industry and its dwindling workers with the U.S.
International Trade Commission. President Reagan did the same thing for
the Specialty Steel Industry of the United states, which was then one of
my clients. His favorable decision led to import restrictions that saved
not only the high allow producers but later the entire steel industry.
But Bush believes his move will entice the steel
industry and its workers into supporting him on Fast Track. Indeed, the
industry is already on record for Fast Track. But the Steel workers
union, which I worked with closely during my 14 years as consultant on
trade to steel and other industries, may not fall for this lure if we
can reach out to its members.
Farmers are another top target of the President's
stepped-up hunt for help with Fast Track. The bait for farmers tossed
out by the White House is increased exports for their products and
perhaps, more government aid.
The American Agriculture Movement, with members in 42
states, is now affiliated with ACCT and it sees right through the
President’s transparent efforts to ensnare farmers support for Fast
Track. Don Deichman of Friends of Agriculture, a member of ACCT’s
Advisory Board, and I met in March with AAM President Buddy Vance of
Texas and the AAM Board. This is one farm organization that knows the
government’s export-oriented agriculture policy has proven disastrous
for family farmers over the last 40 years and we can count on the
American Agriculture Movement’s help in the Fast Track fight.
In Addition, our Coalition must reach out to a broad
audience through direct mail, radio and television talk shows, and other
educational programs. But right now we don’t even have postage money,
which must be put up in advance, for the mass mailings we must start in
July to help head off the Fast Track steamroller coming down on us in
August. Even if the House vote is delayed until autumn we have precious
little time to get moving. I urge you to send the biggest donation you
can afford today. Because tomorrow may literally be too late for our
efforts to restore America’s sovereignty and independence.