Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Trade talks would let companies disobey laws

Free trade usually means you can kiss your job goodbye, as work is outsourced to countries that have weaker labor and environmental laws and where bosses can beat workers at will. But under trade talks now under consideration, it may not matter, because companies may now be allowed to violate even American laws.

Trade rep Ron Kirk has been in trade negotiations with 8 other countries, including the terrible dictatorship in Singapore. Kirk seems open to approving provisions that would let corporations appeal American laws to an international tribunal - which would then have the power to nullify the law. While American corporations wouldn't have this appeal power, foreign firms that do business in America would.

Using that argument, that means I can go to Singapore and chomp on a big wad of bubble gum in defiance of their laws, since I'm not a Singaporean citizen. That's about what this is like, except we're talking about corporations breaking laws - not people.

If these provisions are enacted, America's trade policy will be moving in the precise opposite direction of where it should. The U.S. of A. should require that its labor laws be obeyed by foreign factories that make goods that are to be sold in America. These trade talks seem to be aiming for the opposite.

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