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Volume 7, Issue 3  -  July, 2001

By William J. Gill
President ACCT

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 trade organization.

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 delicatessen salami.

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.

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