Maine Politics

From the Piscataqua to the St. John

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Free Trade and Maine

The Bangor Daily News has an editorial today discussing the impact of the Central American Free Trade Agreement and what role Maine citizens can have in the process. Our role is greater than you might think.
International agreements usually don't give a hoot what states think - trade negotiations are mysterious and Congress has prevented itself from amending the agreements; it merely can vote yes or no. Maine last year, however, gave the state a voice - not a powerful one, but at least an informed, bipartisan one - in trade agreements by approving the Maine Citizen Trade Policy Commission, the only one of its kind among states. Thursday, it will be in Bangor (from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Husson College) to gather the thoughts of Maine residents on CAFTA. Even if you are just hearing about the trade agreement for the first time, it would be worth attending to find out what others are thinking.

These kinds of agreements are important, not just because of the broad effect they can have on people across the world, but also because of the ways in which our state can be affected directly.
Like all states, Maine receives frequent requests from other nations to adjust its laws and procedures based on the language of trade agreements. These changes may be minor or substantial; either way, they are largely out of the hands of the state.

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