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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

HF 1543

as introduced - 85th Legislature (2007 - 2008) Posted on 12/15/2009 12:00am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Bill Text Versions

Engrossments
Introduction Posted on 02/28/2007

Current Version - as introduced

1.1A resolution
1.2memorializing the President and Congress to replace the Fast Track Trade Authority
1.3system.
1.4WHEREAS, democratic, accountable governance in the states generally, and specifically
1.5the authority granted to the legislative branch by Minnesota's Constitution, is being undermined
1.6by international commercial and trade rules enforced by the World Trade Organization (WTO)
1.7and established by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and is further threatened
1.8by similar provisions in an array of pending trade agreements; and
1.9WHEREAS, today's "trade" agreements have impacts which extend significantly beyond
1.10the bounds of traditional trade matters such as tariffs and quotas; instead, they grant foreign
1.11investors and service providers certain rights and privileges regarding acquisition of land and
1.12facilities and regarding operations within a state's territory, subject state laws to challenge as
1.13"nontariff barriers to trade" in the binding dispute resolution bodies that accompany the pacts, and
1.14place limits on the future policy options of state legislatures; and
1.15WHEREAS, NAFTA and other United States free trade agreements grant foreign firms
1.16new rights and privileges for operating within a state that exceed those granted to United States
1.17businesses under state and federal law; and
1.18WHEREAS, NAFTA already has generated "regulatory takings" cases against state and
1.19local land use decisions, state environmental and public health policies, adverse state court rulings,
1.20and state and local contracts that would not have been possible in United States courts; and
1.21WHEREAS, when states are bound to comply with government procurement provisions
1.22contained in trade agreements, common economic development and environmental policies such
2.1as buy-local laws, prevailing wage laws, policies to prevent offshoring of state jobs, and recycled
2.2content laws could be subject to challenge as violating the obligations in the trade agreements; and
2.3WHEREAS, recent trade agreements curtail state regulatory authority by placing
2.4constraints on future policy options; and
2.5WHEREAS, the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) could undermine
2.6state efforts to expand health care coverage and rein in health care costs, and places constraints
2.7on state and local land use planning and gambling policy; and
2.8WHEREAS, new GATS negotiations could impose additional constraints on state
2.9regulation of energy, higher education, professional licensing, and more; and
2.10WHEREAS, despite the indisputable fact that international trade agreements have a
2.11far-reaching impact on state and local laws, federal government trade negotiators have failed to
2.12respect states' rights to prior informed consent before binding states to conform state law and
2.13authority to trade agreement requirements, and have refused even to copy state legislatures on key
2.14correspondence; and
2.15WHEREAS, the current encroachment on state regulatory authority by international
2.16commercial and trade agreements has occurred in no small part because United States trade policy
2.17is being formulated and implemented under the Fast Track Trade Authority procedure; and
2.18WHEREAS, Fast Track eliminates vital checks and balances established in the United States
2.19Constitution by broadly delegating to the executive branch exclusive constitutional authority of
2.20Congress to set the terms of trade, such that the executive branch is empowered to negotiate
2.21broad-ranging trade agreements and to sign them before Congress votes on the agreements; and
2.22WHEREAS, the ability of the executive branch to sign trade agreements prior to Congress'
2.23vote of approval means that executive branch negotiators are able to ignore congressional
2.24negotiating objectives or states' demands, and that neither Congress nor the state has any means to
2.25enforce any decision regarding what provisions must be contained in every United States trade
2.26agreement and what provisions may not be included in any United States trade agreement; and
2.27WHEREAS, federal trade negotiators have ignored and disrespected states' demands
2.28regarding whether or not states agree to be bound to certain nontariff trade agreement provisions;
2.29and
2.30WHEREAS, Fast Track also circumvents normal congressional review and amendment
2.31committee procedures, limits debate to 20 hours total, and forbids any floor amendments to the
2.32implementing legislation that is presented to Congress to conform hundreds of United States laws
3.1to trade agreement obligations and to incorporate the actual trade agreement itself into United
3.2States federal law which preempts state law; and
3.3WHEREAS, Fast Track Trade Authority is not necessary for negotiating trade agreements,
3.4as demonstrated by the existence of scores of trade agreements, including major pacts such as
3.5the agreements administered by the World Trade Organization, implemented in the past 30 years
3.6without the use of Fast Track Trade Authority; and
3.7WHEREAS, Fast Track was established in 1974 by President Richard Nixon when trade
3.8agreements were limited to traditional matters such as tariffs and quotas and is now woefully
3.9outdated and inappropriate given the diverse range of nontrade issues now included in "trade"
3.10agreements that broadly affect federal and state nontrade regulatory authority; and
3.11WHEREAS, the current grant of Fast Track Trade Authority expires in July 2007; NOW,
3.12THEREFORE,
3.13BE IT RESOLVED by the Legislature of the State of Minnesota that it respectfully requests
3.14that the United States Congress create a replacement for the outdated Fast Track Trade Authority
3.15system so that United States trade agreements are developed and implemented using a more
3.16democratic, inclusive mechanism that enshrines the principles of federalism and state sovereignty.
3.17BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this new process for developing and implementing
3.18trade agreements include an explicit mechanism for ensuring the prior informed consent of state
3.19legislatures before states are bound to the nontariff terms of any trade agreement that affects
3.20state regulatory authority, and to ensure that the United States trade representative respects the
3.21decisions made by the states.
3.22BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of State of the State of Minnesota is
3.23directed to prepare copies of this memorial and transmit them to the President of the United States,
3.24the United States trade representative, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of
3.25the United States House of Representatives, and Minnesota's Senators and Representatives in
3.26Congress.