Action Alert

Fair trade or free trade? Let your voice be heard on Minnesota’s future!

The Obama Administration is negotiating two new mega trade deals (one with Pacific Rim countries, another with Europe) entirely in secret, with the goal of further expanding the NAFTA-model of free trade. These trade agreements could have major impacts on Minnesota's farmers, workers, small business owners and rural communities. They could limit Minnesota’s ability to support local food and energy systems and grow local businesses. In order to stay up to speed, Minnesota has set up a new Trade Policy Advisory Council (TPAC) to advise the state legislature and Governor.

TPAC wants to hear from Minnesotans: What concerns do you have about free trade? What role could TPAC play in the future? Now is your opportunity to have a say in our future trade policy. Complete the survey and let them know future trade negotiations should be public, not secret. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard in the development of trade agreements and that they protect local control and our quality of life. The free trade model has failed for Minnesota and we need a new approach to trade. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard before trade agreements are completed, and that they protect local control, our natural resources and our quality of life.

Please take five minutes and complete the survey. To find out more about these trade agreements, go to

Jim Harkness

Senior Advisor on China

Telephone (612) 644-2728
Email Jim

Jim served as President of IATP from 2006 to 2013, traveling frequently to China as part of IATP’s work. Before that, Jim lived in China for 16 years, working on rural development, natural resource management and environment as executive director of the World Wildlife Fund – China, and as the Ford Foundation's Environment and Development Program Officer for China. He has is fluent in Chinese, has written and spoken frequently on China and sustainable development, and has served as an advisor to the World Bank and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Jim grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has a B.A. in Asian studies from the University of Wisconsin and a master's in development sociology from Cornell University.