In your editorial "A New World Order in Trade?" (May 25) you state that President Bush has scored a big political victory because both the House and the Senate granted him an extension of "fast track" for both the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and other "free-trade" proposals under way with Mexico and the rest of the world. In championing this "victory" you state, "Bush now has two more years to negotiate free-trade agreements unencumbered by meddling from Capitol Hill." How could congressional oversight on these proposals, which could cause dire global environmental degradation, be called "meddling"? Would Congress then have the audacity to look out for the interests of the poor, farmers, workers rights, the consumer or nature?
Many environmentalists and social scientists see these new proposals as a form of recolonization of Third World countries. Gunboat diplomacy will be effectively replaced by so-called "free-trade" agreements. Those of us who have been working to expose the far-reaching effects of these new proposals, which will benefit no one except large transnational corporations, should not be called "modern-day Luddites" as you stated in your May 19th editorial. Environmental degradation is evident everywhere in the world and the need to regulate corporate behavior is needed now more than ever. Unchecked, unregulated access by large multinational corporations is the name of the game of these "free-trade" proposals. What we need is fair trade, with social and environmental safeguards, and a return to environmentally sound and economically secure communities.