Carta de Sierra Club al Congreso contra TLC

La organización Sierra Club envió una carta a todo el congreso de los Estados Unidos en oposición a los TLCs de parte de sus 1.4 millón de miembros. En los que cita a Colombia por los impactos de la expansión de palma aceitera en temas ambientales, de derechos humanos, generador de violencia y desplazamientos de grupos indígenas.

June 27, 2011

Dear Member of Congress:

On behalf of the Sierra Club’s 1.4 million members and supporters we
urge you to oppose the Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama and
South Korea.

Trade done the right way can foster development and economic growth
while protecting workers and the environment here and abroad.
Unfortunately the proposed FTAs fall far short of promoting a 21st
Century model for trade that can deliver on this potential.
In particular, the proposed Free Trade Agreement with Colombia poses
serious concerns.

The rapid expansion of Colombia’s palm oil production is causing both
environmental harm and human rights abuses. Clearing land for palm oil
plantations results in large scale deforestation and an increase in
carbon pollution, as well as violence towards and displacement of
indigenous people. The employment conditions in the palm oil industry
are brutal and unpredictable and Colombia remains the most deadly
nation in which to advocate for better working conditions. While the
action plan includes some important steps in the right direction, the
emphasis seems wrongly placed on moving a plan through before the end
of the year – not on ensuring meaningful and lasting progress in

In addition, similar to previous FTAs, the Investment Chapters of the
proposed Free Trade Agreements provides foreign investors and
corporations expansive rights to directly challenge public interest
laws and regulations for compensation before international tribunals,
bypassing domestic courts. Mexico and Canada have lost NAFTA
challenges to environmental protections and the United States has
spent millions defending itself against suits.

The Trade Act of 2002 clearly requires that foreign investors are not
accorded greater substantive rights than those found in U.S. law.
However, the proposed FTAs fail to meet this critical “no greater
rights” test. Instead, they significantly raise the likelihood of more
costly investor-state cases targeting U.S. laws and regulations. The
agreement allows foreign investors to assert that environmental or
public health measures constitute an “indirect expropriation” of their
business interests or violate a “minimum standard of treatment” in a
wide range of circumstances that would not be compensable in U.S.
courts. We are also troubled that the FTAs allow foreign investors and
corporations to bring suit over natural resource, services and
infrastructure contracts with the federal government.

In the case of the South Korea FTA, we have special concerns with the
fact that the agreement could have the impact of weakening South
Korea’s vehicle emissions standards.

Combined, these agreements fall far short of President Obama’s promise
of a “smart, fair and strong” trade policy that would create jobs and
protect the environment, and we urge Members of Congress to oppose

Michael Brune

Executive Director

Sierra Club