Finance Committee Vote Signals Rough Sailing for Anti-Environmental CAFTA Statement of Margrete Strand, Senior Representative, Sierra Club and Sara Zdeb, Legislative Director, Friends of the Earth
Sara Zdeb, Friends of the Earth, 202-222-0728
Margrete Strand, Sierra Club, 202-675-7907
“The Finance Committee’s vote on the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) signals that there is rough sailing ahead for this anti-environmental trade agreement. Committee members from both parties should be applauded for demanding a higher standard in our trade agreements.
“Trade should elevate living and environmental standards. However, CAFTA fails this test, and threatens the economy and ecologically sensitive areas in one of the world’s most biologically rich regions.
“Under CAFTA, Central American countries are not required to maintain basic environmental laws, and the enforcement tools for the agreement’s environmental provisions aren’t on par with those for commercial issues.
“Like NAFTA, CAFTA allows foreign companies to sue for unlimited cash compensation when a countries environmental or public health standards affect profit. These rights go far beyond those given to U.S. companies, and could discourage impoverished Central American countries from adopting strong environmental standards for fear of costly lawsuits.
“We call on the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to oppose CAFTA. We need a forward looking trade policy which opens new markets while protecting communities and the environment. CAFTA is a missed opportunity and must be rejected.”