Pope Benedict XVI calls us to embrace a new economic vision based in justice: “Today’s international economic scene, marked by grave deviations and failures, requires a profoundly new way of understanding business enterprise.”
Trade agreements have not only further impoverished marginalized communities, but they have also decreased access to life saving medicines, degraded God’s gifts of Creation and the environments where communities live, work, and pray, and diminished individual government sovereignty to govern and protect the common good.
One of the ways we witness how trade agreements have failed to ensure community participation and the common good is through the process by which Congress passes trade agreements. “Fast Track” or Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) allows the Administration to negotiate a trade agreement and then pass the final text with an up or down vote- with no changes allowed. We have an opportunity to bring a democratic process back to trade bills by calling for an end to “fast track.” Send letters to your Representative and Senators.
With the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement, the largest free trade agreement thus far, to conclude negotiations in October 2013, Congress and the Administration plan to renew fast track, which expired in 2007. We need to bring a faithful approach to trade agreements that not only contains text that supports the common good, but supports a process that ensures community participation.