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

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...

San Jose, Buenaventura: Ground zero for Free Trade in Colombia

  By Chelsey Dyer, WfP Southeast Board The Port of Bueanventura. Photo credit: Chelsea Dyer The houses surrounding me were small wooden structures, built by the hands of the community members who settled in them and developed their lives within their walls. The...

The Impact of the TPP, Part Two

Josh Wise, Minnesota Fair Trade CoalitionYesterday we read an introduction to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and explored some of the ways these types of free trade agreements prioritize corporations and hurt jobs in all the countries involved. Today we’ll...

The Impact of the TPP, Part One / El Impacto del TPP, Primera Parte

Español abajoJosh Wise, Minnesota Fair Trade CoalitionFor nearly five years now, government bureaucrats and lobbyists on both sides of the Pacific Ocean have been negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in secret. Despite claims from the United States Trade...

Free Trade: A Primer / Fundamentos de Libre Comercio

Español abajo Margaret Boehme, WfP Colombia TeamWhat does Free Trade mean, exactly?According to The Economist Magazine, it’s “the ability of people to undertake economic transactions with people in other countries free from any restraints imposed by governments or...