Trading Spaces

More than 100 church and grassroots organizations from the United States,

More than 100 church and grassroots organizations from the United States, Canada, and Mexico met in New York in January to discuss international financial institutions and trade and investment treaties that affect the poor in North America. "Behind these trade agreements are people," said Lina Aresteo, who is part of a Mexican union of women textile workers who attended the meeting.

Participants developed a list of proposals titled "What Does God Require of Us? A Declaration for Just Trade in the Service of an Economy of Life" that churches can adopt to promote economic justice. The meeting emphasized churches’ responsibility to voice concerns about the effects of policy decisions on poor working people worldwide. The Mexican economy has grown less than 1 percent since NAFTA was signed, said Dora Esther Davila Cordillera from the Centro de Estudios Ecuménicos in Mexico City.

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