CAFTA could die in the Senate Finance Committee tomorrow (tuesday) due to the Bush administration's inability to cut a deal with the sugar lobby. (See Reuters article below), but we can't take ANYTHING for granted especially given that the Washington Post reported last week that things were so tight in the House on the issue that the measure could be decided by a single vote.
VERY IMPORTANT VITAMIN CONSUMERS ACT NOW TO OPPOSE CAFTA!!!
CAFTA contains SPS language which dovetails with the SPS language in the WTO trade agreement to threaten our access to dietary supplements as it would force harmonization to a restrictive codex vitamin standard which could be ratified in at the 28th General Session of Codex (July 4-9) in Rome.
Very important everyone on the IAHF list call members of the Senate Finance committee
http://finance.senate.gov/sitepages/committee.htm via 202-225-3121 (Capital Switchboard), but lets especially focus on the Republicans and Senator Hatch in particular given our concerns about the SPS language in CAFTA and the danger they pose to dietary supplements. (Hatch is on the committee and was the sponsor of the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act of 1994 which CAFTA & FTAA threaten.)
If you are new to the IAHF list or need a phone script to go by please use the form letter at
http://capwiz.com/lef/mail/oneclick_compose/?alertid=7739691 (and also send this in to your congressmen and senators, if you did it already, please do so AGAIN!!
If we don't kill CAFTA in committee tomorrow, the Reuters article below reports that the trade agreement could be voted on in the Senate at the end of this week, then taken up in the House after July 4th week long recess.
Previous reports had indicated it would be taken up in the House first, but now we're hearing otherwise although Norm Singleton in Congressman Paul's office told Brenna Hill he thought it could go to the floor of the House Wednesday or Thursday of this week- so who knows? We need to be ready for ANYTHING.
Republicans want sugar fix in CAFTA fight
Mon Jun 27, 2005 08:41 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. sugar industry needs a longer-term solution to problems caused by a free trade agreement with Central American than the Bush administration has proposed, Republican lawmakers said on Monday.
"The administration made a very good offer. I do not dispute that," Sen. Larry Craig, an Idaho Republican, told reporters after a meeting between Republicans from sugar states such as Florida, Montana and Wyoming and top Bush administration officials, including U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman.
But the plan to keep overall imports below a key farm program threshold level of 1.532 million short tons by paying countries cash or commodities not to export sugar to the United States only covers the remaining two and a half years of the current farm bill, Craig said.
Sugar farmers who take on heavy debt loads to run their operation need a longer-term commitment than that, he said.
The $100 million to $300 million annual cost of the administration's proposal also could create "a very negative environment" for the sugar program in the 2007 farm bill debate, unless there is some agreement now on a longer-term plan for the sugar industry, Craig said.
Intense sugar industry opposition is one of several obstacles that could block approval of the U.S.-Central American Free Trade Agreement, or CAFTA, which President Bush formally submitted to Congress last week.
The agreement allows Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic to ship some additional sugar into the tightly controlled U.S. sugar market.
U.S. sugar farmers fear the agreement could drive them out of business, especially if other sugar producers such as Brazil, Thailand and South Africa are also granted additional access in possible free trade pacts with the United States.
The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday morning on the agreement, which was negotiated under the terms of 2002 trade legislation which bars Congress from making any changes to the pact. The full Senate could take up the legislation by the end of this week, but action in the House of Representative may not start until lawmakers return in July from a week-long Independence Day break.
"There's certainly no resolution of the issue tonight, but there continue to be positive ideas laid upon the table and I still remain hopeful that something can be worked out," Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican, told reporters after the meeting.
One idea being discussed is providing incentives to encourage the use of sugar in ethanol production, he said.
"The problem is we're up against a very close deadline ... It's difficult to put the mechanics (of such an ethanol program) in place in a short period of time," Chambliss said.