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[GreenYes] Trade

For Immediate Release:      Contact: Chris Slevin (202) 454-5140
May 21, 2002

Defeat of Kerry Amendment
 Thwarts Trade Bill's Prospects in House

Senate Rejection of Modest Reform of Investor Protections Reinforces
House "Free Trade" Democrats' Fast Track Opposition

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Senate's defeat today of an amendment to repair the
failed investor protection model of the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) adds yet another obstacle to final passage of the trade package,
Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch said.

The House in December passed by a one-vote margin a dangerous measure giving
the president Fast Track trade negotiating authority. Public Citizen opposes
Fast Track because it strips Congress of its authority to set the terms of
trade. After a contentious month-long debate, the Senate is expected to pass
its own trade package, which must then be reconciled with the House bill in
a conference committee. Both the House and Senate must then approve the
conferenced bill for it to become law.

"Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is a fast track supporter who sought a modest
amendment to remove a pernicious provision that is causing a backlash to
trade deals," said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade
Watch. "Fast Track's fate will be determined by the second House vote, and
House 'free trade' Democrats were relying on the Kerry Amendment's passage
to justify reconsidering their Fast Track opposition from last year. Without
the Kerry Amendment, House passage fortunately will be even more difficult."

The amendment offered by Kerry was a modest reform that guaranteed
much-needed changes in the NAFTA Chapter 11 investment model in future trade
agreements. Under the current NAFTA Chapter 11 model, foreign investors may
file a claim in secret NAFTA tribunals to seek compensation when government
public interest regulations in any way diminish the value of their
investment. To date, foreign businesses have cited Chapter 11 to claim $1.8
billion in compensation from U.S. taxpayers. A recent Tufts University study
released by Taxpayers for Common Sense has estimated that the NAFTA Chapter
11 model, if extended to the Free Trade Area of the Americas, which this
Fast Track bill explicitly authorizes, would enable foreign businesses to
claim up to $32 billion annually.

The Kerry Amendment would have restricted such investment protection actions
to only those cases where government action causes a physical invasion of
property or denies all economic or productive use of that property. In doing
so, the amendment would have instructed U.S. trade negotiators to ensure
that future investor provisions do not grant foreign investors rights beyond
what the U.S. Constitution provides.

"It will be tough sledding in the House given that the Kerry fix for Chapter
11 failed and the White House says it will kill in conference the trade law
amendments that passed," said Wallach.

A group of House Democrats from the Pacific Northwest who have supported
past trade bills wrote in a May 16 letter to Ranking Member Rep. Charles
Rangel (D-N.Y.) that "the Kerry Amendment will safeguard the regulatory
authority of state, local and federal governments" and is "imperative that
any final trade negotiating authority legislation include the provisions" in
the Kerry Amendment.

While the White House and  business groups have lobbied hard against the
Kerry Amendment, state and municipal groups endorsed it, including the U.S.
Conference of Mayors, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the
National Association of Counties, the National Conference of Towns and
Townships, and the National League of Cities.
Peter Anderson
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705
Ph:    (608) 231-1100
Fax:   (608) 233-0011
Cell:   (608) 345-0381

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