2003 Approved Resolutions

  1. 2003-1
  2. 2003-2
  3. 2003-3
Whereas the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and the Global Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) are two examples of a growing number of international economic agreements that are affecting local communities; and

Whereas the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been used by multinational corporations to successfully sue governments for compensation when legitimate local environmental, health, and zoning laws have cut into future corporate profits; and

Whereas legitimate environmental and health protections have been declared "barriers to trade" under the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), forcing governments to pay huge fines or drop the rules; and

Whereas negotiators for the U.S. have said they would like to include both of these types of provisions in the FTAA and the GATS, which could have a chilling effect on state and local efforts to protect the environment, public health, workers' rights, and consumer safety; and

Whereas "free trade" treaties like the FTAA, which contain no safeguards for the environment, labor, democracy or human rights, will eliminate many jobs and will force communities to compete against a global reduction in standard of living; and

Whereas economic models predict that this will also depress the wages of laborers in all sectors of the economy; and

Whereas economic development programs that mandate local hiring or accountability could be ruled illegal under provisions proposed for GATS and the FTAA; and

Whereas the effect of the FTAA and GATS would be to shift power away from communities and small businesses and toward large multinational corporations; and

Whereas the FTAA, the GATS and similar treaties have been negotiated in secret, with no input from local communities.

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved that the League of Wisconsin Municipalities in conference assembled on October 30, 2003, hereby:

1. Urges the President and members of Congress to oppose the FTAA and the GATS, and any other international agreements that:

a. include regulatory expropriation or investor-to-state dispute resolution clauses like the NAFTA provisions that corporations have used to challenge legitimate local government actions;

b. allow unelected trade bureaucrats to declare legitimate health, safety, environmental, or consumer protection standards to be "barriers to trade;"

c. lead to significant losses of family-supporting jobs, and their replacement with low-paying, no-benefit, non-union service jobs;

d. do not protect workers' right to organize in all signatory countries;

e. could be used to force preemption of local rule, local control and home rule; or

f. give more rights to major corporations while limiting the ability of local communities to pursue goals like environmental protection, public health, and economic development; and

2. Urges members of Congress to oppose so-called "Fast Track" or "Presidential Trade Promotion Authority," which would limit the ability of our elected representatives to ensure that international economic agreements protect the interests of our community; and

3. Commits to working with state and local government to develop regional strategies for economic development that:

a. provides family supporting, living wage jobs; and

b. provides opportunities for job training and advancement for low-skill workers; and

c. protects the natural environment and the health of workers and the surrounding communities; and

d. enhances local economic stability and control.