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Date: Wed, 9 Jun 1999 18:57:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: National Radio Project <contact@igc.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.91.990609184505.19438B-100000@igc.apc.org>
Sender: owner-brc-news@igc.org
Subject: [BRC-NEWS] CALL NOW - URGENT - Africa "Recolonization" Act
To: brc-news@igc.org

Africa "Recolonization" Act

From BRC-News
9 June 1999

Please drop what you are doing and make two quick phone calls -- immediately! The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is coming up for mark up and vote in the House Ways and Means Committee at 3:00 pm ET (noon PST) on Thursday. Please please make two calls today and ask five of your friends to do the same.

Xavier Becerra (democrat, Los Angeles) 202-225-6235. His trade staffer's name is Deborah Dixon. He voted for AGOA last year, and hasn't cosponsored the HOPE bill. Ask Deborah to tell him to vote against AGOA and to speak out adamantly against the bill.

Pete Stark (democrat, Fremont) 202-225-5065. His trade staffer is Ann Raffaelli He voted against AGOA last year and is a cosponsor of HOPE. Ask Ann to be sure he continues to oppose AGOA and to stand up and furiously oppose this bill.

According to Public Citizen it is not clear why they are bringing the bill to a mark up. One explanation is that the supporters of the corporate Africa Bill want to test the waters to see if they have the necessary votes and support.


The Africa Trade and Development Act, to be introduced to the House Ways and Means Committee Feb 3rd, is substantially the same bill known in the 105th congress as the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, which rolled together some of the worst elements of NAFTA, the WTO, the IMF and the MAI.

NAFTA: Provides duty free quota free access for textiles; result US job loss. US textile workers, primarily low income women of color, are among those who can least afford to lose their jobs. Additionally, there is no requirement that imported textiles be the product of African labor or that manufacturing company owneship be part African. This opens Africa as a transhipment point for Chinese-made goods or the establishment of Asian work camps in Africa similar to those in Saipan and the Northern Mariana Islands.

WTO: Requires African countries actively seek entry into the WTO and domestic laws deemed out of compliance with WTO be rolled back immediately. Laws that could be repealed are those designed to protect the environment and workers rights.

IMF: Imposes more harsh economic austerity measures including, radical privatizations of state run industries.Wtih no preference for domestic buyers. Privatization often results in higher consumer prices, rendering services unaffordable by the poor. The loss of income to the government sector may cause further cutbacks in government services like healthcare and education.

MAI: Demands unlimited investment rights for foreign corporations, thereby removing a country's ability to direct investment towards particular sectors. This undermines a country=92s right to determine its course of development.

In addition the bill creates special eligibility requirements to be reviewed annually, that African countries must meet in order to continue to receive existing GSP trade status and existing aid. The bill does not increase aid, nor does it provide debt relief. Instead it shifts US Africa policy to a privatized trickle down plan. It sets conditions favorable for multinational corporations to take over Africa's economies and relies on corporations to "create" wealth and development. A model that is a proven failure, creating instead increasing income disparity

HOPE for Africa

But Jesse Jackson Jr has ensured that there is HOPE for Africa. The HOPE for Africa Act,

    recognizes the fundamental importance of DEBT CANCELLATION, in order for African countries to be able to itneract on a more even playing field with the US and in order for african countries to make essential investments in their own development and infrastructure.
  • acknowledges that each african country is a SOVEREIGN entity with the right to direct its own growth.
  • provides DUTY FREE QUOTA FREE ACCESS for African goods and products that are not produced in the US and will therefore not compete with US made goods.
  • shifts a percentage of the duty free quota free access to US markets now assigned to Chinese textiles to AFRICAN TEXTILES. The HOPE bill requires 80% African labor in the production of these textiles and 60% African ownerhsip of the manufacturing firm.
  • requires foreign corporations operating in Africa to pay a living wage and operate by the same LABOR AND ENVIRONMENTAL STANDARDS as they do in their home countries. Failure to do so results in barring of the products of the offending corporation from import to the US.

Call your congressional representative and ask to speak to the staff person responsible for trade issues. Here are some talking points:

  1. Are you aware of the Corporate bill on Africa--AGOA and does the office support it?
  2. Ask them not to support AGOA. It is bad for Africans and Americans.
  3. Inform them that a large coalition representing labor, environment, african rights, social and economic justice from both the US and Africa through a participatory and grassroots process developed a bill that will be good for Africans and Americans. Jesse Jackson Jr is cosponsoring the bill known as the HOPE for Africa Act. Ask the office to support the HOPE Act and oppose AGOA.

The number to call is (202) 224-3121. That will connect you to the congressional switchboard. Then ask for the congressional office to which you want to be connected.

Economic Justice Now http://www.economicjustice.org

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