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Top Ten Reasons to Oppose the Free Trade Area of the Americas In recent years representatives from 34 countries have been working to expand the North American Free Trade Agreement NAFTA to Central America South America and the Caribbean The Free Trade Area of the Americas FTAA is another example of the free-market fundamentalism that has created a global race-to-the-bottom that threatens the environment families livelihoods human rights and democracy Once again a sweeping free trade agreement is in the works that puts commercial interests above all other values 1 The FTAA Expands a Proven Disaster The FTAA is essentially an expansion of NAFTA But NAFTA has proven to be a nightmare for working families and the environment A look at NAFTAs legacy shows why these kinds of free trade agreements should be opposed Working families suffer In the US more than 765000 jobs have disappeared as a result of NAFTA When these laid off workers find new jobs they earn 23 percent less on average than at their previous employment In Mexico manufacturing wages fell 21 percent from 1995 to 1999 and have only started to recover The percentage of Mexicans living in poverty has also grown since NAFTA went into effect The environment suffers In the maquiladora zones along the US-Mexico border the increased pollution and the improper disposal of chemical wastes have dramatically raised rates of hepatitis and birth defects NAFTA should be repealed not expanded 2 The Agreement Is Being Written Without Citizen Input Despite repeated calls for the open and democratic development of trade policy the FTAA negotiations have been conducted without citizen input A process has been set up to solicit citizens views but there is no real mechanism to incorporate the publics concerns into the actual negotiations The public has been given nothing more than a suggestion box At the same time however hundreds of corporate representatives are advising the US negotiators and have advance access to
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