Free Trade & Corporate Practices

For over 20 years Witness for Peace has documented how free trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA have exacerbated poverty and displacement in Latin America while U.S.-based corporations profit.

Free trade agreements, a cornerstone of U.S. economic policy with Latin America, have devastating consequences for the environment, indigenous sovereignty, workers rights and the rural poor.  For example, the influx of subsidized grains from the U.S. to Mexico under NAFTA decimated at least two million farming jobs.  Now, every hour Mexico imports $1.5 million worth of food.  In that same hour, 30 Mexican farmers migrate to the U.S. looking for work.

Free trade also hurts working people in the United States.  Agreements like CAFTA, NAFTA, and the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement force U.S. workers to accept cuts to pay and benefits so that their employers can compete with low-wage factory producers south of the border.  Millions of other workers have lost their jobs altogether as corporations moved overseas to build the same products with cheap foreign labor.  Despite this dismal record, the United States continues to use NAFTA as its model for trade agreements throughout the Americas.

Witness for Peace builds grassroots opposition to U.S.-initiated free trade agreement by bringing delegations of U.S. citizens to the frontlines of U.S. economic policy:  Mexico and Nicaragua.  Stateside, Witness for Peace supporters lobby Congress to block new free trade agreements and renegotiate existing agreements.

In 2005, Witness for Peace supporters and allies throughout Latin America contributed to a major victory:  stopping the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas, which would have extended NAFTA to the entire hemisphere.
Currently Witness for Peace is dedicated to stopping the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement, nicknamed “NAFTA on steroids.”

In addition to exploring economic alternatives through a unique delegations program, Witness for Peace advocates on behalf of the TRADE Act, which would renegotiate existing trade agreements to ensure labor rights, public health and environmental protection.


Latest Updates on Free Trade & Corporate Practices

Mining in Mexico: the NAFTA connection

Out of a list of 926 mining projects in Mexico, there are 85 exploration projects from the U.S.A. 21 have been postponed, 23 in production, and 6 in development. In terms of Canadian projects, there are 501 exploration projects, 115 have been postponed, 58 in...

Interview with a Nicaraguan Free Trade Zone Worker

By WfP Nicaragua Team “What I would like and what I hope for (my country) is that in every Free Trade Zone there be a union and that workers would not be mistreated and would be paid a just salary. But that can’t be so one has to continue working like always because...

Charter Cities: The new neoliberal experiment in Latin America

By Elizabeth Perkins, WfP Honduras TeamCompetition. It’s an inherent concept of U.S. meritocracy, the ‘pull yourself up by the bootstraps’ mentality. (That’s assuming everyone has boots in the first place). Neoliberal economic policy promotes competition as a tool for...