U.S. Bishops Hail Deal on Trade Policy

View It as Big Step Forward

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WASHINGTON, D.C., MAY 25, 2007(Zenit.org).- The U.S. bishops welcomed a bipartisan government deal as a significant step forward in the country's establishing of a more just and equitable trade policy.



Bishop Thomas Wenski, chairman of the prelates' committee on international policy, wrote to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr., and Ambassador Susan Schwab, the U.S. trade representative.

The letter from Bishop Wenski, written May 18, included praise for the agreement while voicing some concerns.

Bishop Wenski wrote: "You have put forward the elements of a creditable response to one of the major questions facing our country: How can we shape trade policy so that it lifts up workers and their families here and abroad, ensures access to life-saving medicines for those who need them and protects God's creation?"

As pastors and teachers, Bishop Wenski explained, "we support policies and programs that promote the welfare of workers in our own nation, but at the same time sharing economic opportunities with people in weaker economies is critically important."

Despite positive steps, however, the bishops "remain deeply concerned that our call for just agricultural trade policies within trade agreements remains unanswered," he said. "The plight of small farmers and farm workers in developing countries is well documented.

"Together with my fellow bishops from several other countries, I remain deeply concerned that your bipartisan trade policy may weaken protections for poor farmers and their families."

Bishop Wenski concluded, "Globalizing the economy will fall short in its duty to uphold human life and dignity unless it is accompanied by a 'globalization of solidarity.'"