Friends of the Earth Denounces Passage of Unjust Trade Agreements

President Obama broke his campaign promises in backing Bush-era trade pacts that repeat mistakes of NAFTA

WASHINGTON, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–October 13, 2011.  With President Obama’s backing, Congress yesterday passed trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama that are based on the flawed model of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth, had the following statement in response:

“President Obama broke his campaign promise by championing these unjust trade deals. The pacts with South Korea, Colombia and Panama will empower big multinational corporations and Wall Street investors to pursue quick profits at the expense of environmental protections, human rights and shared economic prosperity.

“The investment chapters of the three trade deals, which open the door to corporate attacks on environmental protections, are especially alarming. If, for instance, a South Korean uranium mining company thought a U.S. environmental law impinged on its ‘right’ to make profits, it could sue our government through a biased international tribunal, bypassing U.S. courts and threatening to override decisions made through our democratic institutions.

“The passage of the Colombia deal is downright shameful. This deal promises to fuel ongoing armed conflict in Colombia, including intimidation and murder of local activists and union leaders. The deal will also encourage foreign investments in destructive palm oil plantations, mines, oil drilling and other projects designed to exploit Colombia’s natural resources and export the profits overseas. Afro-Colombian and indigenous peoples are at particular risk of displacement.

“As polls demonstrate, Americans understand that current U.S. trade policies are not working in the public interest. As protesters on Wall Street and in other cities across the country challenge the deepening poverty, unemployment and inequality in our country, President Obama has led us toward more of the same.

“President Obama must change course as he negotiates the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. The Trans-Pacific Partnership, and its investment chapter in particular, must not be based on the same failed and unjust model.”

Friends of the Earth fights to defend the environment and create a more healthy and just world. Our campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.