BOSTON CITY COUNCIL PASSES GLOBAL TRADE RESOLUTION
KUDOS TO BOSTON-CAMBRIDGE ALLIANCE
On Wednesday, June 19, the Boston City Council held a vigorous half hour debate on the impact
of international trade and investment agreements on their fair city. When the debate concluded,
they voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution which states: "That the Boston City Council
gives its full support for the passage of the Globalization Impact Bill (H.2119) by the
Massachusetts state legislature and governor."
The resolution brought home to Council members that global trade agreements are already
having a direct local impact. The resolution states in part:
"Mondev International, a Canadian developer, has filed a $50 million suit against
the U.S. government, claiming that they were treated unfairly by Boston officials
and that Massachusetts state courts violated NAFTA when their Downtown
Crossing retail project failed and the rights to Haywood Place were taken from
The Boston-Cambridge Alliance for Democracy has been working long and hard with allied
organizations to get the Massachusetts bill passed. The successful strategy to have the City
Council support the bill provides important momentum.
Before the vote, BCA chair, David Lewit, delivered a fact sheet to all Council members, which
- "GLOBAL TRADE AGREEMENTS, NEGOTIATED WITHOUT ANY LOCAL INPUT, are taking
away local democratic authority. It is time for Boston, the home of the Boston Tea Party,
to protect its right to govern in the interests of its people and to assert its authority
over foreign corporations."
He also emphasized the local impact, saying:
"Mondev is claiming the parking lot property next to their failed Lafayette Place
on Washington Street. If the NAFTA tribunal (made up of trade lawyers) awards
them such damages, there will be no appeal to any court in the U.S. If the U.S.
loses the case and has to pay, the federal government may seek to make Boston pay
them back, or be cut off from federal subsidies."
These successful strategies can be useful in other communities working on local resolutions.
The Globalization Impact Bill (H.2119) is sponsored by State Rep. Byron Rushing, who earlier
sponsored the MA Burma bill which eventually landed in the U.S. Supreme Court. The
globalization bill would establish a state commission to study the impact of the World Trade
Organization and other agreements on Massachusetts laws and regulations. The Commission
would then recommend what position the state should take on such agreements under negotiation.