WASHINGTON (MNS) — In the seven years since the North American Free Trade Agreement became law, farm exports have decreased while farm closures and food prices have increased, according to a report released Tuesday by the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.
The analysis, conducted by the group's Global Trade Watch, was released in anticipation of President Bush's efforts to gain fast-track authority over trade agreements, particularly the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas, which would give the president more latitude in negotiating trade pacts without congressional approval.
The agreement would be patterned after NAFTA and would cover 30 countries. Critics say it would force local farmers to compete with growing South American markets that produce everything from fruits and vegetables in Chile to beef in Argentina.
"We need policies that enable family farmers and their rural communities to prosper," said Bill Christison, president of the National Family Farm Coalition. "The FTAA, like NAFTA, will be a further detriment to family farmers, rural communities and working people because it fails to meet the principles that farmers have adopted as the basis for future trade agreements."