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Say No To Fast Track

Fast Track trade authority is potentially one of the most devastating ideas that has serious traction in Washington, D.C.

Say No To Fast TrackFast Track trade authority is potentially one of the most devastating ideas that has serious traction in Washington, D.C.

Fast Track is a policy that sets up the process for bad trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement. Fast Track undermines democracy and will lead to more trade deals that harm working families. Previous agreements approved under Fast Track have cost the United States hundreds of thousands of jobs and contributed to the closing of more than 60,000 factories. Fast Track shifts power and profits even further up the ladder, making the richest corporations and individuals even richer at the cost of working families. 

What you need to know:

  • Fast Track would establish a process that allows no amendments and limited debate on trade deals. Once legislators have the Fast Track ticket in their hands, they are free to agree to provisions that will send jobs overseas, reduce the bargaining power of workers, jeopardize health and safety regulations and gives corporations more control over our economy and our trading partners' economies. 
  • Fast Track legislation allowed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to be rammed through Congress with weak labor and environmental side deals. Since NAFTA went into effect in 1994, North American workers have experienced downward pressure on wages and a tougher organizing environment. Twenty years later, we find an unbalanced system in which profits soar even as workers take home a diminishing share of the national income.
  • More recent trade deals, like the World Trade Organization trade deal, had no labor or environmental standards at all. And other Fast Track trade deals have included Colombia, a country in which nearly 3,000 labor leaders and activists have been killed since 1986, and Korea—a country with which our trade deficit is already rising, and which, under the very low standards of the deal, can receive tariff benefits for cars that contain only 35% Korean content. 
  • To really have trade deals with high standards, the American public must have more say—and that means no Fast Track authority from Congress.
  • Fast Track would do nothing to fix the U.S. trade deficit or grow the middle class. In fact, it would interfere with important health and safety regulations, ensure the primacy of investor rights over labor rights and boost profits and incomes for global corporations and the top 1%. But it will shrink the paychecks of working families and make it less likely that America’s children can climb the ladder of success.
  • The trade deals the Fast Track authority would influence are shrouded in secrecy. Fast Track doesn’t give the public any opportunity to improve a bad deal. Indeed, it doesn’t even require Congress or an independent body to evaluate the trade deal to ensure it has a positive impact on the U.S. trade balance, job creation or environmental protections before the Fast Track procedures apply—every deal, not matter how bad, is entitled to the same preferential treatment. If passed, Fast Track would:
    • Keep the very low congressional “standards” that allowed weak trade agreements like NAFTA to pass;
    • Keep the negotiating process behind closed doors, subject to too much Wall Street and special interest influence;
    • Ensure that irresponsible corporations remain unaccountable for labor and environmental violations anywhere in their supply chain.