FTAA RESOLUTION IN MN LEGISLATURE
noimage This is moving through the State Legislature in Minnesota. If you are in MN, call your state legislators and urge them to get behind it. If you are in another state, work on getting a similar resolution passed either just on the FTAA or on FTAA and GATS (see model resolutions).


A resolution memorializing the President, Congress, and the
Governor to ensure that international trade agreements
respect the traditional authority of state and local
governments to protect the public interest.

WHEREAS, the Minnesota legislature supports the benefits of
fair trade for local economies; and

BACKGROUND

WHEREAS, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is
negotiating with 34 countries in the western hemisphere to
extend the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to those
countries, thereby creating a Free Trade Area of the Americas
(FTAA) that would eliminate barriers to trade, investment, and
services, while creating a single set of trade rules among
member countries; and

WHEREAS, trade agreements pertaining to services,
investment and government procurement constrain the exercise of
state and local government authority to protect the health and
welfare of its citizens; and

WHEREAS, the traditional local authority of state and local
officials to develop and implement necessary policies for their
constituents must not be jeopardized by provisions of the FTAA;

WHEREAS, the National League of Cities, National
Association of Counties, National Conference of State
Legislatures, and National Association of Attorneys General have
all adopted resolutions or otherwise taken positions similar to
the concerns expressed in this resolution; and

SUBSIDIES, TRADE IN SERVICES, AND PUBLIC PROCUREMENT

WHEREAS, the FTAA chapter on subsidies includes subsidy
rules that potentially conflict with state or local lawmaking to
promote economic development; and

WHEREAS, the risk of conflict between proposed FTAA rules
on trade in services and state or local law is relatively high
because over 75 percent of the economy is now in the service
sector, and many services are regulated or provided by state and
local governments, including programs designed to assist
disadvantaged areas; and

WHEREAS, the risk of conflict between proposed FTAA
procurement rules and state or local law is relatively high
because over two-thirds of public procurement in the United
States occurs at the state and local level, including programs
designed to assist disadvantaged areas; and

INVESTMENT AGREEMENTS

WHEREAS, foreign investors have already used the provisions
of NAFTA's investment chapter to challenge core powers of state
and local government including, but not limited to, regulatory
power to protect ground water, the power of civil juries to use
punitive damages to deter corporate fraud; the ability of states
to invoke sovereign immunity; and decisions by a local
government to deny a zoning permit for construction of a
hazardous waste dump; and

WHEREAS, the FTAA investment chapter creates foreign
investor rights that potentially conflict with traditional local
land use decision-making ability; and

WHEREAS, the FTAA investment chapter affects state and
local powers, including, but not limited to, zoning, protection
of ground water and other natural resources, corporate
and tribal ownership of land and casinos, law enforcement by
courts, public services, and sovereign immunity; and

WHEREAS, the FTAA investment rules deviate from
United States legal precedents on takings law and deference to
legislative determinations on protecting the public interest;

WHEREAS, the FTAA investment rules do not safeguard any
category of law from foreign investor complaints, including, but
not limited to, laws passed in the interest of protecting human
or animal health, environmental resources, human rights, and
labor rights;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Senate and House
of Representatives of the state of Minnesota respectfully
memorialize the Administration, Congress, and the
Governor of Minnesota as follows:

(1) that the Administration and Congress should consult
with state and local officials prior to negotiating any
provisions of the FTAA, to ensure that trade negotiators do not
undermine the scope of state and local governmental authority
under the Constitution, while assessing the impact of a
proposed agreement on state and local laws and future lawmaking
authority, and, when necessary, providing general exceptions to
safeguard state and local sovereignty and protect effective
state and local programs and initiatives;

(2) the Administration and Congress preserve and respect
the traditional powers of state and local governments by
requiring that U.S. negotiators of international investment
agreements do all of-the following:
(a) either exempt state and local governments from the
scope of future investment agreements or exclude
investor-to-state disputes from investment agreements;
(b) ensure that international investment rules do not give
greater rights to foreign investors than United States investors
enjoy under the United States Constitution;
(c) ensure that international investment rules do not
undermine traditional police powers of state and local
resources, and regulate fair competition;
(d) ensure that all proceedings are open to the public and
that all submissions, findings, and decisions are promptly made
public, consistent with the need to protect classified
information, and that amicus briefs will be accepted and
considered by investment tribunals; and
(e) provide that an investors' home government must consent
to the investors' claim against its host government, if
investor-to-state disputes are retained; and

(3) that the Governor of Minnesota not consent, opt-in, or
otherwise voluntarily relinquish any powers of the state or of
local governments of this state, without first consulting with
the Minnesota Legislature and with local governments; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Minnesota Secretary of
State transmit copies of this resolution to the President and
Vice President of the United States, to the United States Trade
Representative, to the Speaker and Clerk of the United States
House of Representatives, to the President and Secretary of the
United States Senate, to each Senator and Representative from
Minnesota in the Congress of the United States, and to the
Governor of Minnesota.


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