Resolution Upholding Longstanding Policy Maintaining Agriculture Commodities and Product Comprehensiveness of US Trade Agreements
This resolution urges those negotiating trade frameworks on behalf of the United States of America to ensure that these frameworks are comprehensive and that no commodities or agricultural products be “carved out” in the name of public policy.
WHEREAS, the American Legal Exchange Council (ALEC) recognizes that the Jeffersonian ideals of free markets, limited government and federalism form the essence of the success of this union of states; and
WHEREAS, free trade is a boon to the economic success of the United States by extending the principle of free markets beyond its national borders; and
WHEREAS, under the Constitution the President has the responsibility to conduct foreign relations on behalf of the states, and, given that the states come first in our federalist system, the President does not possess the power to favor or disfavor some states as opposed to others; and
WHEREAS, in favoring all states equally, the President’s responsibility is to lower trade barriers as extensively as he is able, not to pick and choose which sectors of the economy are not worthy of equal treatment; and
WHEREAS, it has been the longstanding policy of the United States to approach trade negotiations comprehensively, putting “everything on the table,” recognizing that any carve-out demanded by our government provides an excuse for negotiating partners to do the same (e.g. protection of emerging or sensitive sectors, protection of cultural heritage, etc.) and that carve-outs demanded by trade partners will have the effect of hurting some of our states; and
WHEREAS, there is no serious policy rationale for excluding agriculture or other products from trade agreements, and even if there were a reason for carving out some aspects of the economy, such a reason would need overwhelming evidence given its prejudicial nature; and
WHEREAS, carving out portions of trade agreements would violate the United States’ obligations under Article XXIV of the GATT, which demands that any free trade agreements not part of the WTO cover “substantially all” trade;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the commonwealth/state of (insert state) urges the Obama Administration, the United States Trade Representative (USTR), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to hold firm on the longstanding principled policy that trade agreements must be comprehensive, that no products or agricultural commodities be removed in the name of public policy, and that they act accordingly in negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP);
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to President Barack Obama, US Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk, and US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
Approved by the ALEC Board of Directors on September 16, 2011.