PATAGONIA ANTI-GATT DRIVE HITS ENVIRONMENTAL, HEALTH CONCERNS

Byline: J.O.

WASHINGTON--In an unusual move for an individual apparel firm, Patagonia Inc. kicks off today what it terms a nationwide campaign against the GATT agreement with an advertisement in the New York Times urging Congress to reject the trade pact.
The Ventura, Calif., manufacturer of outdoor clothing opposes GATT "because it places trade superior to all other values and goals, such as environmental protection, public health and democratic decision-making," said a company spokeswoman.
The spokeswoman said the pact, which will slowly eliminate nations' apparel import quotas and open closed markets, would benefit Patagonia's worldwide sales, but "the negative effects on the environment and our democracy far outweigh any economic benefits we could derive."
The firm, which says it pledges 1 percent of its annual sales to efforts to preserve and restore the environment, claims the GATT pact would permit U.S. trading partners to challenge U.S. health, safety and environmental laws at the federal, state and local level.
The quarter-page ad calls upon Congress to reject the treaty in votes slated for late November and early December and supports negotiations on a new world trade pact "that won't lower environmental protections to 19th-century levels." The company's ad, which is slated to run in Sunday's Los Angeles Times and other unspecified U.S. newspapers later, includes a section that readers can cut out and mail to their senators and House members urging them to reject the agreement.
Patagonia also said it will include anti-GATT postcards ready to be mailed to Congress in its mail order shipments and at its 11 retail stores.
U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor has said U.S. laws cannot be overturned by the World Trade Organization, the GATT's successor group slated to start up on Jan. 1, assuming Congress approves the needed implementing legislation.

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