Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Thursday, July 20, 2006

OMAN TRADE DEAL: FLAWED WORKERS & U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY

Today, the House will consider H.R. 5684, U.S. - Oman Free Trade Agreement (OFTA) Implementation Act. This trade agreement would require market liberalization for most U.S. goods and services in Oman, and increase U.S. market access for certain Omani sectors and industires, including textiles. Many Democrats oppose OFTA because it undermines fundamental workers' rights, and includes a provision that threatens our national security.

***When are the people going to realize that the Democrats are for the people and that the Republicans are for the corporations?

Democrats are urged to vote NO on the previous question on the rule to permit consideration of the Cardin amendment to close the loophole in the agreement that would allow a foreign company based in Oman to operate U.S. port facilities.

* The pact is extremely problematic---containing language, intentionally hidden in the agreement, that compromises our national security and could provide a backdoor route for foreign interests to own or manage operations at our ports.

***And people think that the Republicans are good for national security! How? Why is this language hidden?

* Specifically, it allows a "right of establishment" to any company based in Oman. That would present an avenue for Dubai Ports World, or any other country with dubious ties, to set up a small operation in Oman and then lay claim to a U.S. port. The United States could block a port acquisition only by claiming a national security interest, but it would be up to an international tribunal to determine if such a move was justified.

* We should not support any trade agreement that limits our national security authority regarding critical and sensitive infrastructure, such as our ports. If we are really serious about national security, especially give the bi-partisan outrage over the Dubai Ports World situation earlier this year, we must delete this outrageous loophole.

***This statement right here, tells you that the Democrats are more concerned about national security than the Republicans. The Republicans are going behind the backs of the American people to still do business with Dubai Ports World. They went and put in language that contradicts what the people want. They are nothing but a bunch of liars.

* This vote is not so much about trade as about security: Our homeland security and our national security regarding threats of terrorism against our nation and our people.

DEMOCRATS SUPPORT TRADE AGREEMENTS THAT EXPAND MARKETS AND RAISE LIVING STANDARDS.

* Trade agreements should provide real gains for U.S. workers, consumers, and businesses, while supporting economic development, democracy and the rule of law in our trading partners.

* The United States, with its unrivaled purchasing power and its economic clout, is in a unique position to help raise living standards in developing countries, while promoting prosperity at home.

* Trade agreements must be done in a bipartisan fashion and negotiated in a way that brings the benefits of trade to both workers and corporations.


OMAN DOES NOT APPLY BASIC LABOR STANDARDS---RESULTING IN FORCED LABOR

* Oman has been promising for more than one year to change its labor laws, regulations and practices; and yet Oman has fully addressed only 1 of 10 areas where its laws fail to comply with basic international standards.

* Further, there are serious questions about human trafficking and forced labor. The State Department's reports that "foreign workers at times were placed in situations amounting to forced labor" in Oman. Yet, Oman has no law prohibiting employers from confiscating workers' documents. This practice enabled the human trafficking and forced labor conditions in Jordan---in violation of basic and fundamental international labor standards.


THE OMAN AGREEMENT CONTINUES THE PARTISAN FAILED BUSH ADMINISTRATION RECORD ON TRADE.

* Under the Bush Administration, the U.S. trade deficit has nearly doubled. Our trade deficit is on track to climb to $815B in 2006---exceeding last year's record-breaking deficit with the U.S. importing $2B more in goods and services everyday than we export.

* Despite a record trade deficit, the Bush Administration has focused on negotiating agreements with countries where the opportunities for U.S. business are limited, while refusing to stand up for U.S. workers and businesses in the face of unfair trade practices by large countries such as China.

* The Republican trade agenda has failed to break new ground by opening large markets for U.S. goods that are crucial to creating new jobs for American workers. All agreements to date come to just 4 percent of U.S. trade. In 2005, U.S. trade with Oman was only about $1B for the entire year.

* Rather than defending U.S. rights against countries that renege on their international trade commitments, the Bush Administration has chosen to allow foreign competitors off the hook---filing only 13 WTO trade cases in 5 years, The Clinton Administration files 11 cases per year.

* Nowhere are the Republicans failures more evident than for U.S. manufacturers who are forced to compete with Chinese companies with an unfair marhet advantage due to currency manipulation.


OMAN/USTR CAN REALLY FIX THE PROBLEM.

* All that Oman has to do before Congress votes on the agreement is make the necessary changes to its laws---on October 31, 2006, or before---and reference those changes under the Agreement, and it is likely that the agreement will enjoy broad partisan support in the House.

For more information, go to:

http://www.democraticleader.house.gov/30something/posters/foreign.map.pdf

http://www.democraticleader.house.gov/30something/posters/foreigndept.pdf

http://www.democraticleader.house.gov/30something/posters.html

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