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New Coalition of 71 U.S.-based Civil Society Groups Launch New Congressional Effort Against Doha Round’s WTO Expansion

By Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch

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Dear Member of Congress:
On behalf of the millions of members of our diverse organizations, we are writing to alert you to the threats to U.S. economic, social, environmental and national security interests from the negotiations currently underway at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The issues now being decided at the WTO talks by U.S. executive branch negotiators closely parallel the most controversial issues facing Congress – U.S. immigration policy, U.S. farm policy, the future of the U.S. manufacturing sector, and U.S. service sector policy regarding energy, healthcare and education, to name but a few.

Since WTO negotiations have expanded far beyond traditional trade matters, such as tariffs and quotas, it is crucially important that all members of Congress, not only those on the trade committees, be informed and active on the content of these negotiations. At the WTO now, decisions are being taken on policies – such as immigration, domestic gambling regulation, the rights of foreign companies to own U.S. service sector infrastructure, food inspection, U.S. consumers’ access to affordable energy, medicines, education, and more – that had previously been preserved for Congress’ domestic decision making.

In addition, the actual trade issues now under negotiation will determine the future of the U.S. manufacturing sector, the prospects for combating the perilous trade deficit we now suffer and the future standards of living for America’s working families and independent farmers. Because the Fast Track mechanism so strictly limits Congress’ role once negotiations are completed, now is the time for members of Congress to influence the positions that U.S.negotiators will take at these important negotiations, which will affect your constituents’day-to-day lives enormously.