Obama Just Signed Customs and Enforcement Bill: Why this matters

Obama Just Signed Customs and Enforcement Bill: Why this matters

By Susie Chasnoff.

BREAKING – President Obama has signed the Trade Facilitation & Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (aka Customs & Enforcement) Bill HR 644. “The term `trade enforcement’ means the enforcement of the customs and trade laws of the United States.” Climate, BDS, Slave Labor & more were addressed. Scroll down for brief updates on each. THE BILL: http://1.usa.gov/1S3UdWr


This bill prohibits US trade ministers from considering global warming or climate change during negotiations of trade agreements. The exact language:

““[T]o ensure that trade agreements do not require changes to U.S. law or obligate the United States with respect to global warming or climate change.” Sect. 912 of HR 644, Page 251:http://1.usa.gov/1dZliZM

By signing this piece of legislation Obama is breaking the commitments he made at the 2015 Paris Climate Summit.


Trade agreements can not direct a country to change it’s laws. What they do is impose trade sanctions, as with the WTO, or impose taxpayer fines, as with NAFTA and the TPP, should it come into force. These sanctions and fines can lead to a government changing it’s laws to avoid such, or to not pass a piece of legislation for fear it will be challenged. Even when a country wins a challenge they are still left paying millions of dollars in legal fees.


In the original version of HR 644 the above language is found in “Sect. 912: Amendments to Bipartisan Congressional Trade.” That section is now 914 in the legislation Obama signed, but I was unable to access it from the above government link to the bill.


“A lengthy section of the law on promoting US-Israel trade requires non-cooperation with entities that participate in the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, and reporting on such entities. The section includes within its definition of an Israel boycott actions that would target businesses in ‘Israeli-controlled territories.’”

FULL ARTICLE: http://bit.ly/1QgOtnC


HR 644 eliminates the “consumptive demand” section exception “a long-standing loophole in the prohibition against the importation into the United States of goods made with forced labor.”

“Pursuant to the consumptive demand exception, companies have been able to import goods produced with forced labor if the ‘consumptive demand’ for those goods in the United States exceeds the capacity of domestic production.”

The question is, how will this be enforced? We already only have 2% of food arriving at our ports being inspected. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would give multinational corporations the ability to challenge these inspections in real time. Considering that TPP signatory countries Malaysia and Vietnam both have high incidences of forced and slave labor, doesn’t this contradict the terms of HR 644?

FULL ARTICLE: http://bit.ly/1TBcEBx


“Obama did not focus on the aspect of the bill that has gained the most attention, the ban on Internet access taxes.

“Until now, states that imposed Internet access taxes have been allowed to continue. Under the legislation Obama signed, those states would have to phase out their taxes by the summer of 2020.”

FULL ARTICLE: http://bit.ly/1SXDa9I
#StopTPP #ClimateChange #Jobs #BDS