ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERS WARN OF SANTIAGO SUMMIT/ NAFTA EXPANSION SEEN

Western Ancient Forest Campaign wafcdc at igc.apc.org
Wed Apr 8 14:50:16 EST 1998


From: Steve Holmer <wafcdc at igc.apc.org>
Subject: ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERS WARN OF SANTIAGO SUMMIT/ NAFTA EXPANSION  SEEN AS THREAT TO FORESTS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  April 8, 1998
CONTACT:  Jim Jontz, Western Ancient Forest Campaign
202/879-4298


      ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERS WARN OF SANTIAGO SUMMIT 
                             
        NAFTA EXPANSION SEEN AS THREAT TO FORESTS


Environmental leaders say the Free Trade Area of the Americas
(FTAA) negotiations, scheduled to be launched this April 18 and 19 by
President Clinton and other heads of state at the Second Summit of the
Americas in Santiago, Chile, are "heading toward trouble" for the
hemisphere's forests.

Adriana Hoffmann, national coordinator of Defenders of the Chilean
Forest, a leading forest protection group in Chile, says FTAA will
extend the worst aspects of the North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) to Chile and all of Latin America.  "NAFTA proved to be
ineffective in dealing with the intensification of environmental
problems," she says.  "We should be learning from NAFTA and doing
much more, not less, to incorporate environmental safeguards in its
expansion."

Forest activists say that the FTAA will result in more unsustainable
logging as investment by multinational timber companies is encouraged
and both tariff and non-tariff barriers to the timber trade are removed. 
"A free trade agreement without strong protections for forests is an
invitation to destructive logging," says Jim Jontz, director of the
Western Ancient Forest Campaign.  "Since the implementation of
NAFTA, Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. have all lowered their
protections for forests and biodiversity."     

David Brower, Sierra Club national board member and a founder of
Friends of the Earth International, says the FTAA "is an end run for
multinational corporations around the conservation gains of the past half
century.  We should not have free trade barriers to environmental
protections."

According to the World Resources Institute, the Western Hemisphere
includes approximately 50% of the world's large remaining intact
natural forest ecosystems, or "Frontier Forests."  Chile is home to
some of the most important remaining temperate rainforests in the
southern hemisphere, but heavy logging pressure has led the Central
Bank of Chile to warn that liquidation of the nation's primary forests
can be expected within 25 years.  

FTAA would be the world's largest free-trade zone, comprising 34
countries of North, Central, and South America.  The agreement would
seek to eliminate controls on trade and investment and serve as an
economic integration agreement covering a range of issues such as
agriculture, intellectual property, government procurement,
phytosanitary standards, and dispute resolution.  

                          -- 30 --

Steve Holmer
Campaign Coordinator

Western Ancient Forest Campaign
1025 Vermont Ave. NW  3rd Floor
Washington, D.C. 20005
202/879-3188
202/879-3189 fax
wafcdc at igc.org




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