N.H. lawmakers take aim at trade deals

The New Hampshire Legislature has backed a measure that supporters say will help protect state interests in international trade agreements.

On May 31, the House approved Senate Concurrent Resolution 3, by a 191-106 vote. The resolution calls on federal trade negotiators to confer with New Hampshire legislators before approving trade agreements that could affect the state’s businesses and resources. The Senate already passed the resolution by a voice vote on April 5.

Rep. Susi Nord, D-Candia, co-sponsor of the resolution, said trade agreements often override state and local ordinances. As the federal government puts free-trade agreements “on fast-track,” she said, environmental and labor concerns are often neglected in favor of business interests.

Citizens lose “good jobs with benefits” when federal, open-market legislation encourages overseas competition Nord said.

She also said there are “a lot of gray areas where these trade agreements are creating discrepancies between local ordinances and state ordinances.”

According to Nord, a Citizens Advisory Committee, which will include legislators and a member of an international trade group, will report on free trade agreements to the federal labor committee and governor, may be assembled as early as this summer.

Another supporter of the resolution, Arnie Alpert of the American Friends Services Committee, said he hopes the resolution makes provisions of trade agreements “less obscure” and gives state legislators the chance act in the best interest of New Hampshire citizens. – AUBRY BRACCO

Categories: News