WS>>FTAA Falters on Road to 2005

carl william spitzer iv cwsiv_2nd at JUNO.COM
Wed Apr 21 11:08:42 MDT 2004


          by William F. Jasper

          The  recent negotiation impasse at the Free Trade  Area
     of  the  Americas summit in Miami shows that  the  globalist
     plan to merge the hemisphere can still be stopped.

          Vol. 19, No. 25
          Morality Matters

          Plans to merge 34 countries of North and South  America
     and  the Caribbean into a supra-national government  modeled
     after the European Union hit some snags at the recent  hemi-
     spheric  summit in Miami.  However, the Bush  administration
     is  continuing  the Clinton administration's  commitment  to
     complete  a formal agreement on the merger by 2005. To  this
     end,  it has announced a stepped-up schedule to negotiate  a
     series of bilateral, multilateral and regional trade  agree-
     ments  aimed at achieving the hemispheric  merger  piecemeal
     and  applying pressure to countries that are resisting  eco-
     nomic and political convergence.

          The  weeklong  Free Trade Area of the  Americas  (FTAA)
     summit  in Miami ended abruptly on Thursday, November 20,  a
     day  earlier than scheduled.  Though U.S. Trade  Representa-
     tive  Robert Zoellick and many of his  foreign  counterparts
     attending the conference termed the gathering a success,  it
     was clear that they were putting a happy face on a negotiat-
     ed  framework agreement that had become mired in trade  dis-
     putes and had fallen far short of expectations.

          At a surprise press conference hurriedly called  Thurs-
     day  night,  Mr.   Zoellick announced  that  the  trade  and
     finance  ministers  had completed their  work  earlier  than
     expected.  "We  got  our work done a few  hours  early,"  he
     announced.  "We are moving the FTAA - into a new  phase.  We
     are  negotiating  it, not just seeking it."  Brazil's  Celso
     Amorim, who co-chaired the summit with Zoellick,  contrasted
     the event's conclusion with the collapse of the World  Trade
     Organization  (WTO) talks in Cancun, Mexico,  in  September.
     The  Cancun summit ended in deadlock, as  several  countries
     walked out over disputes concerning agricultural tariffs and
     subsidies,  intellectual  property rights  and  other  hotly
     contested issues. "The great difference [at Cancun] is  that
     everyone  was dancing to the beat of their own  drum,"  said
     Amorim.   "Today we have reached a result that was all  com-
     mon."

          But  the image of sweet unity and harmony projected  by
     Zoellick and Amorim was an attempt to cover over contentious
     issues that had threatened to turn Miami into another Cancun
     donnybrook. The Miami declaration provides the framework for
     the next round of FTAA negotiations, which will begin  early
     next  year. The document reaffirms the commitment signed  by
     President  George W. Bush and other hemispheric  leaders  at
     the Quebec Summit of the Americas in 2001 to achieve a final
     agreement  by January 2005, with the FTAA going into  effect
     by the end of that year. The declaration gives a deadline of
     September 30, 2004 for final tariff negotiations but sets no
     dates  for other matters, such as environmental  regulation,
     labor codes, immigration and health care - all of which have
     been proposed for FTAA jurisdiction.

          To avoid an impasse, the U.S. agreed to a weaker treaty
     draft that would allow countries to opt out of FTAA  regula-
     tions  they don't like.  The agreement, for example,  allows
     Brazil  to  opt  out of the FTAA  on  intellectual  property
     rights,  opening services markets, and new  laws  protecting
     foreign  investors.  Zoellick pointedly  contested  critics'
     characterizations  of the Miami agreement as "FTAA Lite"  or
     "ALCA  Lite" - ALCA being the Spanish acronym for  FTAA.  "I
     don't accept your presumption that what we negotiated was an
     ALCA  Lite," Zoellick told Latin American critics  during  a
     Thursday afternoon session.

          However, the U.S. trade representative's actions belied
     his words. On November 19, after negotiations had reached  a
     deadlock,  Zoellick  announced that he would  launch  a  new
     flurry  of  negotiations for bilateral trade pacts  with  at
     least  six countries. Those named were the Dominican  Repub-
     lic, Panama, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.   Although
     Zoellick has been pursuing bilateral trade pacts with  these
     and  many other countries over the past two years,  the  an-
     nouncement signaled a new high-pressure effort by the admin-
     istration  to draft reluctant countries into the  FTAA  with
     the threat of being isolated from access to the coveted U.S.
     market.

          David Lewis, a Washington-based trade adviser attending
     the Miami FTAA business forums, explained the U.S. bilateral
     strategy  to the Miami Herald this way: "Basically  what  it
     says  is, =91OK, if we can't close a good FTAA, we'll  close
     some good bilateral [treaties].' Before you know it, you may
     not have an FTAA. But what you have in the bilaterals may be
     equal to an FTAA."

          Amalgamating the Americas

          That, of course, is the plan. The FTAA architects  have
     designed  the  envisioned organization  as  the  hemispheric
     equivalent of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Area),  which
     now encompasses the United States, Canada and Mexico. It  is
     also  planned  as a regional adjunct of the WTO.   The  FTAA
     proponents intend that their new creation will expand rapid-
     ly  beyond  trade  issues and, following the  model  of  the
     European Union, absorb the sovereign nations of the  Western
     Hemisphere into a supranational government.

          The  crucial  sovereignty  issue was a  major  bone  of
     contention  at the 2001 Quebec summit. In an April 23,  2001
     Associated Press story entitled "Biggest Obstacle to Selling
     Trade  Pact  Is Sovereignty," writer David E.  Sanger  high-
     lighted  the central issue at stake in the  so-called  free-
     trade pact. "The biggest problem," Sanger noted, "comes down
     to one word: sovereignty."

          As  with  NAFTA, the FTAA would turn  over  control  of
     trade issues, as well as a growing list of add-on issues, to
     an international bureaucracy that can override national  and
     local  laws  and constitutions. But there was  virtually  no
     mention  of sovereignty at the Miami summit, at  least  none
     that made it out to the press.

          The conference was one of the most hermetically  sealed
     trade summits ever convened, with almost all of the sessions
     taking place behind closed doors at the Intercontinental and
     Hyatt Regency hotels in Miami's downtown oceanfront. Due  to
     the  violent riots that had plagued the Seattle WTO  summit,
     the  Quebec FTAA summit and other international  gatherings,
     the Miami conference took place within a police cordon  that
     sealed  off  several city blocks behind  barricades  and  an
     overwhelming police presence on land and sea and in the air.
     No one was allowed into the area unless registered with  the
     event and in possession of an official photo I.D. issued  by
     FTAA  organizers. Even registered members of the media  were
     severely  restricted  and  forced  to  go  through  repeated
     searches, metal detectors, and "wandings" for the few  press
     conferences and photo ops that were made available.

          The  FTAA media center in the Hyatt was provided  video
     feeds of some of the speeches, but most of the sessions took
     place two blocks away at the Intercontinental and were  off-
     limits to the press. When we were allowed to attend  events,
     we were escorted by guards and not permitted to mingle  with
     any of the conference delegates. When the official  sessions
     ended,  delegates were usually spirited off to  dinners  and
     evening  events  that also were closed to the  press.  As  a
     result,  even  those of us who were staying  in  the  Hyatt,
     where most of the delegates also were staying, found  little
     opportunity  to interview the main FTAA  participants.  This
     was  according to plan; the summit organizers wanted  to  be
     sure that exposure of delegates to the media was kept to  an
     absolute  minimum  and that news coverage would  be  largely
     reduced  to regurgitation of official FTAA  press  releases.
     With  this tightly controlled media setup,  FTAA  organizers
     could  greatly  curtail expressions of  dissent,  present  a
     general  image  of agreement, and make it  appear  that  the
     radical  street protesters were the only opposition  to  the
     "trade liberalization" proposed under the FTAA.

          Controlled "Opposition"

          The only other voices of opposition heard in Miami came
     from  supposed  conservative quarters in  the  business  and
     political  communities,  where the criticism  was  that  the
     declaration  did  not go far enough! The  U.S.   Chamber  of
     Commerce, dominated by large corporate influences that stand
     to  gain by moving even more of their production to  cheaper
     Latin American venues, warned that Zoellick's new  bilateral
     strategy "must not distract from the effort to complete  the
     Free  Trade  Area  of the Americas, which  remains  our  top
     hemispheric priority."

          Likewise,  the  National Association  of  Manufacturers
     (NAM)  expressed  concern that  the  watered-down  agreement
     might  not  be acceptable to them. "This is not the  way  we
     want  to  go," said NAM international vice  president  Frank
     Vargo.  "If it is not a high-quality agreement, we  are  not
     going  to support it." By high quality, Vargo means an  FTAA
     with broad powers and real regulatory teeth. It is  unlikely
     that  the hundreds of thousands of small-  and  medium-sized
     businesses  that make up the U.S. Chamber and the NAM  fully
     realize that their leaders are lobbying to saddle them  with
     an unaccountable international regulatory bureaucracy. Those
     American businesses are already staggering under  regulatory
     overload. If the FTAA goes through, they will not only  find
     themselves hit with an ever-increasing welter of FTAA  regu-
     lations,  mandates  and  lawsuits, but they  will  see  what
     remaining  market share they now have eroded by a  flood  of
     less  expensive foreign products. Of course, many  of  those
     products will come from the foreign plants of big  corporate
     NAM  and  Chamber members that are not subject to  the  same
     socialist burdens forced on the smaller members who  produce
     domestically.

          Many  of  these same corporate  business  leaders  also
     expressed dismay that the Miami summit failed to decide on a
     location for the FTAA Secretariat, the new bureaucracy  that
     would  administer  the planned explosion  of  "international
     law"  spawned by the new organization. The location  of  the
     Secretariat  was one of the highly anticipated  outcomes  of
     the  summit that failed to materialize. Miami appears to  be
     the  leading candidate for the permanent  headquarters,  and
     officials  for Florida and the City of Miami have been  cam-
     paigning for this political plum for the past several years.

          In  view  of  the "FTAA Lite"  accord,  many  delegates
     openly  expressed doubt that the FTAA would have  sufficient
     regulatory  duties to justify a large and impressive  staff.
     Not  to  worry, said Carl Cira, the FTAA would  still  be  a
     force  to reckon with. Mr. Cira, the director of the  Summit
     of the Americas Center at Florida International  University,
     insisted: "It would be the World Trade Organization of  this
     hemisphere.  It's still worth fighting for that."

          The NAM's director of international trade policy  Scott
     Otteman was less enthusiastic than Cira. "I would have  more
     respect  for  it  if it was a  secretariat  administering  a
     broad,  comprehensive  agreement,''  Otteman  stated.  Chuck
     Cobb, the leading cheerleader of the Sunshine State's  busi-
     ness  community,  has urged his fellow Floridians to  see  a
     silver  lining in the weaker FTAA declaration. According  to
     Mr.  Cobb,  the "bright side" is the  possibility  that  the
     profusion of loopholes and exceptions in the agreement  will
     make  it more complex and therefore require a  larger  staff
     than otherwise would be necessary.

          The Miami Herald reported:

          Florida  FTAA  Chairman Chuck Cobb and  others  counter
     that the looser treaty proposed Wednesday - which would  let
     countries  opt  out of FTAA rules they don't  like  -  could
     spawn an even larger bureaucracy for the headquarters, since
     it  would  have a more sprawling matrix  of  regulations  to
     administer.

          So why are these business leaders so anxious to subject
     themselves  to the ministrations of a new level of  interna-
     tional  bureaucrats?  Many in the  business  community  have
     undoubtedly  succumbed to the fabulous promises  of  immense
     wealth to be made from exporting U.S.-made products to these
     new  markets. The same promises were made  concerning  NAFTA
     and the WTO. Instead, we have seen an accelerated hemorrhage
     of  jobs, manufacturing and technology to Asia,  Mexico  and
     Latin America. How could any businessman consider erecting a
     new WTO for this hemisphere to be a good thing? Why would  a
     representative  for  the manufacturing industry want  a  new
     regulatory  monstrosity to be given  "broad,  comprehensive"
     administrative  authority? Why would a business leader  hope
     for "an even larger bureaucracy" with "a more sprawling  mix
     of regulations"?

          The  answer is that, like Mr. Zoellick, most  of  these
     business leaders pushing the FTAA free-trade scam are corpo-
     rate, one-world socialists who know that the trade  policies
     and  regulatory  regimes they are supporting will  wipe  out
     most of their smaller competitors. They also know that  each
     of  these so-called free-trade agreements includes  billions
     of  dollars for the taking, ladled out by USAID,  the  World
     Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International
     Monetary Fund and other entities to those corporations  with
     the right political connections.

          Like  Mr. Zoellick, most of the leading lights  of  the
     FTAA crusade are members of the Council on Foreign Relations
     (CFR),  which has been in the forefront of  virtually  every
     effort to promote regional governance schemes as a  stepping
     stone to world government.

          Global Governance

          The  FTAA  is a prime example of the favored  model  of
     "transgovernmentalism,"  described  by  Harvard  Law  School
     Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter (CFR) in the September-Octob-
     er  1997 issue of Foreign Affairs, the CFR journal.  In  her
     essay entitled "The Real New World Order," Professor Slaugh-
     ter  declared that "Transgovernmentalism is emerging as  the
     real  new world order, rapidly becoming the most  widespread
     and effective mode of international governance."

          Transgovernmentalism  is the developing wave of  supra-
     national  government networks that incorporate big  business
     and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) into the governing
     mix. According to Slaughter, these "government networks  are
     government  for the information age. They offer the world  a
     blueprint  for  the international architecture of  the  21st
     century."  "The result," she says "is not world  government,
     but global governance."

          According   to  Slaughter,  this   transgovernmentalist
     strategy of networking has the advantage of not providing  a
     centralized  target like the UN for conservatives to  demon-
     ize. However, Slaughter goes on to contradict her  nonsensi-
     cal governance-government distinction by admitting that  the
     transgovernmental  model she champions is indeed a  form  of
     world government. The new networks, she says, "can work with
     their subnational and supranational counterparts, creating a
     genuinely  new world order in which  networked  institutions
     perform  the functions of a world government -  legislation,
     administration, and adjudication - without the form."

          Of  course, once the "functions of a world  government"
     are established in a network of institutions, it is a rather
     elementary matter to formalize an actual world government in
     a  concrete, centralized structure. While many of the  busi-
     ness  leaders chasing the elusive trade dollar may  not  see
     this  design  behind the FTAA, you can be sure  that  Robert
     Zoellick, Anne-Marie Slaughter and their fellow one-worlders
     at the CFR most certainly do.

     http://www.thenewamerican.com/tna/2003/12-15-2003/2005.htm


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