Local input sought on trade issues

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PARIS — A legislative commission is looking to communities to determine the impact of global economic agreements on local residents.

The Maine Citizen Trade Policy Commission will host a discussion on the topic from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 6, at the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School. The meeting is open to anyone interested in trade agreements and anyone who has been personally affected by such policies.

The commission was established in 2004 and is currently co-chaired by state Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, and state Rep. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston. Its goal is to determine the effect of international trade agreements on Maine and hold hearings to receive input from different parts of the state.

“By listening and understanding the way agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization both benefit and hurt Mainers, we as a commission can make recommendations to our congressional delegation, the governor, the Legislature, and the United States trade representative as to how trade policy should be changed to be better for the Maine economy,” the legislators said in a statement.

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The statement said one concern the commission has with such trade agreements is the possibility that foreign corporations can supersede local, state, or federal laws by challenging them at a closed-door tribunal. It says other states have created similar commissions and “insist that future trade agreement negotiations include input from the states and from the people most affected by their decisions.”

mlangeveld@sunjournal.com

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