01 fevereiro 2007

A New, Green Vision for Trade is Needed, Conservation Groups SayStatement of Defenders of Wildlife, Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club

JANUARY 30, 2007
12:05 PM

WASHINGTON - January 30 - In his speech today in Peoria, Illinois on the economy, President Bush is expected to call for an extension of Fast Track trade negotiating authority. Defenders of Wildlife, Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club issued the following statement:

"Trade done right can help lift living standards and promote sustainable development. Unfortunately, this administration cannot be counted on to protect the environment in trade agreements without greater oversight from Congress and the public. Any authority granted to President Bush must ensure that trade deals will have strong environmental rules that can be guaranteed through the democratic process.

"The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has been negotiating bilateral trade agreements one after another with some of the planet's most biologically rich and diverse countries, including Peru, Colombia and Malaysia - and a deal with Indonesia is in the works. Until now, the USTR has only felt obliged to include weak environmental provisions filled with gaps and loopholes.

"Congress must supply the administration with a more detailed roadmap for negotiating trade agreements that safeguard the environment. The environmental chapters of trade agreements must incorporate provisions that will ensure enforcement of international environmental standards and prohibit the rampant trade in illegal timber that is destroying our world’s forests. Trade agreements must also promote safe and healthy communities in the U.S. and abroad by rewriting rules that currently allow challenges to environmental and public health laws and regulations.

"As Democratic members of the House Ways and Means Committee highlighted recently in a letter to United States Trade Representative Susan Schwab, trade deals will have to effectively address these environmental concerns if a consensus on trade policy is to be built. If President Bush wants renewed trade authority, he must heed these voices."

CONTACT: Sierra Club
Joe Vickless, Defenders of Wildlife, (202) 772-0237, jvickless@defenders.org
David Waskow, Friends of the Earth, (202) 492-4660
Virginia Cramer, Sierra Club, (202) 675-6279

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