ANNAPOLIS, Md. (March 25, 2015) – Yesterday, a Maryland Senate committee held a hearing on a bill based on state sovereignty that would create a mechanism to protect the Old Line State from the negative impacts of international trade agreements.

Sen. Roger Manno (D-Montgomery) introduced Senate Bill 893 (SB893) on March 3. The bill would establish a Commission on Free Trade, Currency Manipulation, and State Sovereignty. The commission would be required to create an annual assessment of the impact of international trade agreements on state sovereignty, the state business environment and their relationship to state and local law, provide a mechanism for members of the general assembly and the public to provide input on the impact of international trade agreements, work with interested groups in other states to develop means to resolve the conflicting goals and tensions inherent in the relationship between international trade agreements and state sovereignty, and develop recommendations to protect the job and business environment of the state and state sovereignty from any negative impacts of international trade agreements.

The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on SB893 Tuesday. The legislation will need to clear the committee by a majority vote in order to move forward.

Skeptics of international trade agreements contend they often benefit international corporations at the expense of local business and harm domestic job markets. For instance, in 2014, Noam Chomsky warned that ta proposed trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership is “designed to carry forward the neoliberal project to maximize profit and domination, and to set the working people in the world in competition with one another so as to lower wages to increase insecurity.”

SB893 would allow the state of Maryland to assert its state sovereignty, evaluate the impact of such international trade agreements and take further steps to mitigate the effects through state initiated action.

The bill would set the stage to nullify the negative impacts of international trade agreements within the borders of Maryland.

Mike Maharrey

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