[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

#791: CBI Enhancement to Move in the Senate! (fwd)

From: Merrill Smith <advocacy@bellatlantic.net>

This is a Haiti Advocacy update on the Campaign for Trade Fairness for
the Caribbean and Central America. In this issue:

I. Legislation Begins to Move in the Senate
II. Haitian Workers take the Lead
III. Support Picks up Steam in the House
IV. NGOs Rally to the Cause

I. Legislation Begins to Move in the Senate

On Thursday night, Oct. 21, Senate Majority leader Trent Lott finally
issued the Motion to Proceed on HR 434, the African Growth and
Opportunity Act. This is the bill which the Senate Finance Committee
will use as its vehicle to substitute its own ?mini-trade' bill
including their versions of the Africa bill, "CBI Enhancement" (lowering
U.S. tariffs on products of the Caribbean and Central America),
extension of the "Generalized System of Preferences" (limited tariff
relief for poor countries in general) and Trade Adjustment Assistance
(money for retraining U.S. workers temporarily displaced by trade).

Sens. Moynihan and Grassley spoke in defense of the legislation and, as
expected, Sen. Hollings opposed the motion to proceed in a lengthy
speech including kind words for the infamous Smoot-Hawley tariffs of
1931! The debate continued on Friday until Lott invoked "cloture" to
avoid a filibuster. The cloture vote passed overwhelmingly this
(Tuesday) morning: 90-8! 

But we can't afford to get cocky -- this was an easy procedural motion.
It basically means that 90 Senators were tired of hearing Hollings drone
on and on. Opponents have many more tricks up their sleeves. The
difficult votes will come in a few days as we get to the content of the

Now is the time to give your Senators' a call. Tell them to "pass CBI
enhancement now! Vote for H.R. 434!"

II. Haitian Workers take the Lead

As many of you know, the major Haitian labor federations have been
pushing for this legislation for more than a year now. In the last few
months, they have been joined by their brothers and sisters in the labor
movements of the Dominican Republic, Honduras and El Salvador
representing the overwhelming majority of organized workers in those
countries. They include the following:

Central General de Trabajadores (CGT - Honduras)
Centrale Autonome des Travailleurs Haïtiens (CATH)
Confederación General de Sindicatos (CGS - El Salvador)
Confederación Mundial de Trabajadores (CMT - Honduras)
Confederación Nacional de Trabajadores Dominicanos (CNTD)
Confederación Unitaria de Trabajadores de Honduras (CUTH)
Confédération des Travailleurs Haïtiens (CTH)
Federación Laboral de Sindicatos Independientes de Transporte, Comercio
y Maquila (FLATICOM - El Salvador)
Federación Nacional Sindical de Trabajadores Salvadoreños (FENASTRAS)
Federación Nacional de Trabajadores de Zonas Francas (FENATRAONAS -
Dominican Republic)
Federación Sindical de Trabajadores de El Salvador (FESTRAES)
Federación de Sindicatos de la Industria del Construcción Similares
Transportes y Otras Actividades (FESINCONSTRANS - El Salvador)
Federación de Sindicatos de Trabajadores de Alimentos, Bebidas y
Similares (FESINTRABS - El Salvador)
Federación Unitaria de Trabajadores de las Zonas Francas (FUTRAZONAS -
Dominican Republic)
Federación Unitaria Sindical de El Salvador (FUSS)
Fundación para la Educacion Progreso y Desarrollo del Obrero Salvadoreño
Konfederasyon Ouvriye Travayè Ayisyen (KOTA)
Organización de Sindicatos Independientes Libres Salvadoreños (OSILS)
Organization Générale Indépendente des Travailleurs Haïtiens (OGITH)

III. Support Picks up Steam in the House

We now have a record 64 Co-Sponsors of HR 984 in the House. This is the
better version of CBI enhancement which allows the countries of the
region to use more of their own, locally produced material in products
for the U.S. market. By building support for it we will strengthen the
hand of House negotiators in winning a more favorable compromise when
the Conference Committee meets to iron out differences between the House
and Senate versions.

Here are the Co-Sponsors to date -- if your House rep is not among them,
give him or her a call and ask them to get on board!:

(To find out who your house rep is, go to
<http://www.house.gov/writerep/> and plug in your zip code.)

Republicans (33)		Democrats (31)

Philip M. Crane (8IL, Sponsor)	Charles B. Rangel (15NY)
Jim Kolbe (5AZ)			Robert T. Matsui (5CA)
Amo Houghton, Jr. (31NY)	William J. Jefferson (2LA)
David Dreier (28CA)		Rubén Hinojosa (15TX)
Philip S. English (21PA)	Carrie Meek (17FL)
Mark Foley (16FL)		Bobby Rush (1IL)
Dan Miller (13FL)		Donna M.C. Christensen (VI)
Richard K. Armey (26TX)		Jim McDermott (7WA)
Jim Ramstad (3MN)		Calvin M. Dooley (20CA)
E. Clay Shaw (22FL)		James P. Moran (8VA)			
Jennifer Dunn (8WA)		Edolphus Towns (10NY)
Scott McInnis (3CO)		Major R. Owens (11NY)			
Jerry Lewis (40CA)		Carolyn Kilpatrick (15MI)
Thomas M. Davis III (11VA)	Donald M. Payne (10NJ)
Rob J. Portman (2OH)		Alcee Hastings (23FL)
Deborah Pryce (15OH)		Gregory W. Meeks (6NY)
Steven C. LaTourette (19OH)	Earl Blumenauer (3OR)
David McIntosh (2IN)		Eddie Bernice Johnson (30TX)
Thomas J. Bliley (7VA)		Anna Eshoo (14CA)
Christopher Cannon (3UT)	Ken Bentsen (25TX)
Vernon Ehlers (3MI)		Jim Davis (11FL)
Kevin P. Brady (8TX)		Sheila Jackson Lee (18TX)
Jim Nussle (2IA)		Chaka Fattah (2PA)
Rodney Frelinghuysen (11NJ) 	Sam Farr (17CA)
George P. Radanovich (19CA)	Anthony David Weiner (9NY)
Marge Roukema (5NJ)		Elijah Cummings (7MD)
John M. Shimkus (20IL)		Harold E. Ford, Jr. (9TN)
Dave Camp (4MI)			Earl Hilliard (7AL)
Bill Barrett (3NE)		Frank Mascara (20PA)
Edward Royce (39CA)		Albert Wynn (4MD)
Michael Oxley (4OH)		Shelley Berkley (1NV)
Connie Morella (8MD)
James M. Talent (2MO)

IV. NGOs Rally to the Cause

We've been circulating and gathering endorsements for the organizational
?sign-on' letter below. About 60 churches, unions, companies and NGOs
have already signed on in addition to a number of notable individuals
(bishops, academics, authors, etc.) endorsing in their own capacities.
When complete, we will circulate it to the conferees and possibly run it
as an ad in Roll Call, the congressional newspaper.

If your company, religious or civic organization would like to join on,
please print out the short form at the end and fax it to Haiti Advocacy
as soon as possible. 

Here's the text of the letter:


The organizations listed below urge passage this year of legislation to
reduce U.S. tariffs and trade barriers to the countries of Central
America and the Caribbean. These are some of the poorest countries in
the Western Hemisphere. Their democratically-elected governments are
emerging from years of political instability. They have also recently
been devastated by Hurricanes Georges and Mitch. Humanitarian assistance
is called for but what the people of the region really need is
sustainable economic development and access to markets. The United
States of America should not maintain trade barriers against the poor!

Enhanced trade with Central America and the Caribbean would also benefit
the United States. It would increase our own exports to the region,
reduce incentives to illegal immigration and drug trafficking, and
provide inexpensive goods to American consumers. 

Onerous content restrictions, which would inhibit the countries of the
region from using their own, locally produced materials, will diminish
the benefits of this legislation and should be eliminated!

Here's the text of the endorsement form:

Name of Organization: ______________________________________________

Address: 	_____________________________________________________


Person giving endorsement: _________________________________________

					[print name]

Title: _____________________________________________

Date:  _____________________________________________


Merrill Smith
Haiti Advocacy, Inc.
1309 Independence Avenue SE
Washington DC 20003-2302
(202) 544-9084
(202) 547-2952 fax