Friday, July 29

Bishop provides CAFTA swing vote, responds to concerns

I found this interesting. It brings up some of the concerns expressed here by Aaron, but at the same time, Bishop identifies some key aspects that made it compelling--mainly the foreign policy aspect of CAFTA. As I have said, not being a lawyer makes it dificult for me to understand the intricacies of this legislation, but it is my hope it does what it has been promised to do.

"This is a referendum on our foreign policy more than it is on our free trade," Bishop said in a prepared statement Thursday.

Bishop was joined with a yea vote by his Utah House colleagues, representatives Chris Cannon, also a Republican, and Democrat Jim Matheson.

The two-page statement outlined Bishop's concerns about the trade agreement and his belief that the agreement is also a fight against communism in Central America controlled by Cuba's Fidel Castro and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

"No other potential trade agreement will have an anti-communist component," he said.

Bishop compared this agreement with others from the past -- he voted against the World Trade Organization and the Australia Trade Agreement -- and those in the future: "I also see no reason to support (Free Trade Area of the Americas)."

However, Bishop said CAFTA is a way for the United States to develop "inter-governmental cooperation."

Some more good points and responses to common concerns:

"In CAFTA, foreign citizens cannot sue an American state. State laws cannot be overturned without state agreement," he said.

"I will note that there will be markets opened to Utah companies, but the studies indicate that the amount of trade Utah does or is projected to do in this region is minimal."

In addressing job concerns, Bishop also said it would be better to purchase something from Central America "with 80 percent of the material produced in the U.S. than a shirt from China with less than 5 percent of the material U.S.-produced."