Citizen Trade Policy Commission to hold second Public Hearing on CAFTA and Other International Trade Agreements



Tuesday, April 19, 7pm-10pm

USM Portland, Luther Bonney Auditorium



The Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) may come up for a vote in Congress as early as May, 2005.  The Citizen Trade Policy Commission gives Maine citizens a greater voice in these trade deals.  Make your voice heard at this Public Hearing! Share your concerns -- no trade expertise needed.


Have you lost your job to outsourcing?   Has your community been devastated by a plant closing and moving south?  Are you concerned about access to healthcare?   Do you want to make sure Maine’s Rx law is protected from further challenge?   Are you concerned about sustainable forestry, fisheries, and water withdrawal practices?   Should our state have the right to limit air and water pollution to protect the environment and public health? Do you value zoning as a tool of local control over development?


Did you know all these questions are potentially “trade” issues?


Since the World Trade Organization was established and NAFTA took effect in 1994, trade negotiations not only address border issues such as tariffs and quotas, but also attempt to limit government laws and policies seen as “non-tariff barriers to trade.”   As such, federal, state, and local government measures that protect public health and the environment, or promote sustainable development and access to healthcare, can all be targeted for elimination.


Last year, the Maine Fair Trade Campaign campaigned with unions and other allies to win passage of the Maine Jobs, Trade and Democracy Act. The law created the nation’s first state citizen-based trade policy commission to monitor the impact of trade agreements on our laws, policies, and economy, and to provide a mechanism for citizens to voice their concerns and recommendations designed to protect Maine's jobs, business environment, laws from any negative impact of trade agreements. The commission includes 17 voting members representing a broad spectrum of interests and five non-voting members from state governmental departments.  The Commission has established working groups to investigate the impact of trade on economic development and labor, state healthcare policies, and natural resource protection and the environment.


The Commission needs to hear from you! Its next public hearing will take place Tuesday April 19, 2005, 7-10pm, in Portland at USM Portland in the Luther Bonney Auditorium. This public hearing is a forum for the public to share concerns, real life stories, questions and recommendations about trade issues.  No expertise on trade issues is needed.  Tell a story, share a concern, ask a question, request the Commission to investigate the impact of trade on an area that matters to you.  Because Congress may vote on the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) as early as May 2005, this first hearing is a great opportunity for Mainers to comment on CAFTA and influence the vote of our Congressional delegation.


The Commission will relay people's questions and concerns to Maine's Congressional delegation, the U.S. Trade Representative's Office, the state legislature, and other official bodies concerned with trade.


Maine is the only state in the country with this kind of citizen commission.  Come join in Maine’s newest experiment in democracy!



For more information about the state legislature’s Citizen Trade Policy Commission go to:



The Commission held its first public hearing in Bangor on February 3, 2005. For a report back from that hearing go to: