Lifting Vulnerable Communities: Ensuring Access to Medicines in Trade Agreements and US Policy

Sponsored by Jubilee USA Network

WHAT: During the negotiations for a new "NAFTA," religious organizations issued a statement encouraging that trade agreements ensure access to medicine for vulnerable communities around the world and in the United States. Signers of the statement included the heads of the Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, Episcopalian and United Church of Christ Churches and interfaith development group Jubilee USA. In this panel, experts and representatives from religious institutions will discuss ways to improve NAFTA, enforce bipartisan Congress agreements on trade protections for vulnerable communities and explore policies related to prescription drug costs.

WHO: Reverend Stacy Martin, President and CEO, Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska; Anthony Granado, Director, Office of Domestic Social Development, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; Fran Quigley, Clinical Professor of Law, University of Indiana; Eric LeCompte, Executive Director, Jubilee USA Network

WHEN: 4:00 - 4:30 PM Reception and Open Bar
4:30 - 5:30 PM Speeches
5:30 PM Reception
November 7, 2018

WHERE: US Congress Rayburn House Office Building
House Small Business Committee Hearing Room 2361
Washington, DC

Business Attire. This is a "widely attended" event for Congressional Staff.

To RSVP please contact Iuliia Ponomareva at development@jubileeusa.org or call (202) 783-3566 x100.

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Elections, NAFTA, Puerto Rico - Act, Pray - Jubilee Weekend

Friends,

With mid-term elections upon us, we head to the ballot box as too many people suffer. We know how important voting, praying and acting is to address inequality and to ease suffering.

Soon after the elections, Congress could vote on a new "NAFTA" deal that impacts inequality, global debt policies and whether or not poor people can access life-saving medicine. Before a new Congress comes to Washington, the current White House and Congress needs to hear from us - before they act.

We need your faith community to pray with us the weekend of November 16th through 18th and to endorse our interfaith statement on trade, debt and access to medicines.

Here are two ways to join us:

1.) Sign-up your faith community to offer one prayer during your religious service the weekend of November 16th - 18th. Join Jewish, Christian, Muslim and other faith communities as we pray that trade agreements protect the vulnerable. When you sign up we will send you sample prayers and petitions to sign at your congregation.

2.) Please have your faith community endorse the interfaith trade statement that national religious leaders are signing. We will be sending your endorsements to the White House and Congress before they vote on a new NAFTA deal.

Over the last 7 years, Jubilee USA raised concerns on how trade agreements are used to favor predatory or "vulture" funds to collect on old debt. In Peru, a hedge fund is trying to use a trade agreement process to collect on old military dictatorship debt. 

Because of our efforts together, the new "NAFTA" deal could severely limit these predatory actors from using trade processes to take advantage of vulnerable populations. 

At Jubilee USA's core, we work on economic policies to ensure that resources get to the most vulnerable communities. It's why for years we've worked with and organized our national faith partners to promote trade agreements that ensure that vulnerable communities can access life-saving medicine. We still have a lot of work to win strong protections for vulnerable communities in a new NAFTA deal. It's why we need your faith community to endorse the interfaith statement and join Jubilee Weekend.

Already the leaders of the Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian, Episcopal and United Church of Christ Churches signed our Jubilee trade statement. Please have your faith community endorse the statement too.

Please join us and sign-up to offer one prayer during Jubilee Weekend and have your faith community endorse the interfaith statement.

After the elections, our strategic campaigns on trade, transparency, debt relief and lifting Puerto Rico can continue to achieve results. 

As your faith community offers a prayer for Jubilee November 16th-18th, we are also mindful of last year's hurricanes that ravaged Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Barbuda and Dominica. We expect additional votes on Puerto Rico relief as the island enters a new phase of debt negotiations and debt traps. Before the end of the year, we will also need to do more to make sure that Congress and the White House act for Puerto Rico.

Gratefully,

Eric

Eric LeCompte 
Executive Director
Twitter: @Eric_LeCompte

 

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La Junta de Supervisión Fiscal revisa el nuevo plan fiscal para Puerto Rico

Washington DC – La Junta de Supervisión Fiscal de Puerto Rico revisó hoy en San Juan un nuevo plan fiscal, con particular énfasis sobre el desarrollo económico y los pagos de deuda para los acreedores. La Junta de Supervisión Fiscal y de Gerencia de Puerto Rico fue nombrada mediante legislación, aprobada por el Congreso de EE.UU. en el 2016, a tenor con que el territorio federal, alcanzara presupuestos balanceados, esto en medio de la lucha provocada por la crisis de la deuda, que reflejaba un saldo de $72,000 millones.

“El nuevo plan fiscal está fundamentado sobre estimados de crecimiento optimistas a corto plazo y depende de la aprobación por el Congreso de decenas de miles de millones de dólares adicionales, producto de las ayudas por los desastres naturales y beneficios de salud,” apuntó el Director Ejecutivo de Jubilee USA Eric LeCompte. “Mientras que necesitamos ver mas ayuda dirigida hacia Puerto Rico, los recién aprobados acuerdos de deuda y el plan fiscal están pagando demasiado a los acreedores, lo que su vez provoca un incremento en las medidas de austeridad.”

Los líderes religiosos en la isla tienen la preocupación de, que el plan fiscal no vaya acorde con la realidad del país. Antes de que los huracanes Irma y María azotarán a Puerto Rico el año pasado, la isla luchaba contra una tasa de pobreza infantil que rondaba el 60 por ciento. 

“Mientras los mercados celebran por el reflejo de un crecimiento económico temporal y los esfuerzos de la reconstrucción, vemos todavía a nuestra gente, en especial a los niños, sufriendo.” comento el Arzobispo de San Juan, Roberto González Nieves. “Nosotros necesitamos encaminarnos por un sendero que provea desarrollo sustentable a largo plazo para nuestra economía, nuestra gente y nuestro medio ambiente.”

En el reciente acuerdo de deuda sobre los bonos de Puerto Rico respaldados por el Impuesto de Ventas y Uso o COFINA, tenemos la preocupación de que el modelo utilizado provee un pago muy alto para los acreedores.

“Nuestra primera prioridad debe ser reducir las medidas de austeridad y encontrar un camino de desarrollo económico sustentable,” comentó el Rev. Heriberto Martínez, quien es el líder evangélico que dirige la Sociedad Bíblica en la isla, y a su vez dirige una coalición religiosa sobre la deuda de Puerto Rico. “Nuestra gente necesita un proceso de restructuración comprensivo sobre la totalidad de la deuda, de modo que nuestros niños queden liberados de este problema.”

Leer el Nuevo Plan Fiscal para Puerto Rico.

 

 

Oversight Board Reviews New Fiscal Plan for Puerto Rico

Washington DC - Puerto Rico's oversight board reviews a new plan on economic growth and debt payments to the island's creditors in San Juan today. The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico was appointed through an act of Congress in 2016 to bring balanced budgets to the US territory wrestling with a $72 billion debt crisis.

"The new fiscal plan is based on rosy short-term growth estimates and relies on Congress to fund tens of billions more in disaster aid and health benefits," noted Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte. "While we need to see more aid getting to Puerto Rico, the current approved debt deals and fiscal plan are paying too much to creditors and pushing too much austerity."

On the island, religious leaders are concerned that the fiscal plan doesn't match the reality of life on the ground. Before Hurricanes Maria and Irma hit Puerto Rico last year, the island struggled with a close to 60 percent child poverty rate.

"While markets celebrate over temporary economic growth from aid and rebuilding efforts we still see our people, especially our children suffering," stated San Juan's Catholic Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez. "We need a path forward that provides long-term sustainability for our economy, our people and our environment."

In a recent debt plan over Puerto Rico sales tax backed bonds or COFINA, concerns remain that a debt payment model is being set that pays too much to creditors.

"Our first priority must be reducing austerity and finding a path to sustainable economic growth," stated Reverend Heriberto Martinez who is the Evangelical head of the island's General Bible Society and leads a religious coalition on Puerto Rico's debt. "Our people need a comprehensive and total debt restructuring so our children can be free of this problem."

Read the New Fiscal Plan for Puerto Rico

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Oversight Board Reviews New Fiscal Plan for Puerto Rico

Washington DC - Puerto Rico's oversight board reviews a new plan on economic growth and debt payments to the island's creditors in San Juan today. The Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico was appointed through an act of Congress in 2016 to bring balanced budgets to the US territory wrestling with a $72 billion debt crisis.

"The new fiscal plan is based on rosy short-term growth estimates and relies on Congress to fund tens of billions more in disaster aid and health benefits," noted Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte. "While we need to see more aid getting to Puerto Rico, the current approved debt deals and fiscal plan are paying too much to creditors and pushing too much austerity."

On the island, religious leaders are concerned that the fiscal plan doesn't match the reality of life on the ground. Before Hurricanes Maria and Irma hit Puerto Rico last year, the island struggled with a close to 60 percent child poverty rate.

"While markets celebrate over temporary economic growth from aid and rebuilding efforts we still see our people, especially our children suffering," stated San Juan's Catholic Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez. "We need a path forward that provides long-term sustainability for our economy, our people and our environment."

In a recent debt plan over Puerto Rico sales tax backed bonds or COFINA, concerns remain that a debt payment model is being set that pays too much to creditors.

"Our first priority must be reducing austerity and finding a path to sustainable economic growth," stated Reverend Heriberto Martinez who is the Evangelical head of the island's General Bible Society and leads a religious coalition on Puerto Rico's debt. "Our people need a comprehensive and total debt restructuring so our children can be free of this problem."

Read the New Fiscal Plan for Puerto Rico

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Eric LeCompte Talks to Global Capital on African Debt

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA, recently spoke with Global Capital on growing debt burdens in Africa. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

Debt-laden African states ill-prepared for next crisis

Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network, said African markets were now much more connected to the rest of the world than during the previous financial crisis.

"The types of debt that different countries have today did not even exist in Africa 10 years ago. Africa will not be insulated from the next crisis," he said. "The poorest countries are already back in debt, and now we even see wealthier countries like Nigeria, Kenya which are dealing with serious debt issues."

Read more here

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Jubilee USA Statement on IMFC Communiqué

Bali, Indonesia - At the annual IMF and World Bank Meetings, the IMFC released the "Communiqué of the Thirty-Seventh Meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee." 

Eric LeCompte Jubilee USA Executive Director releases of the following statement on the International Monetary and Financial Committee Communiqué:

"I share the concern of IMF leadership about future financial crisis. We have not done enough to prevent the next crisis.

"While we have reached consensus that risky behavior and unsustainable debt leads to financial crisis, I am concerned that we have still not reached consensus on the solutions of financial crisis.

"Inequality is on the rise. Risks to the stability of the financial system are growing according to the IMF.

"To prevent the next crisis, we need greater transparency. We must curb corruption and tax evasion and we need a permanent process that can solve debt crisis."

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IMF and World Bank Warn of Financial Crisis as Indonesian Currency Hits Asian Crisis Low - Jubilee USA Network

Bali, Indonesia -World leaders, finance ministers, heads of banks and nongovernmental organizations begin the Annual IMF and World Bank Meetings held this year in Indonesia. Ahead of the meetings the IMF issued stark warnings that another global financial crisis could be on the horizon. As the meetings kickoff, the currency of Indonesia hit lows reminiscent of the devastating "Asian Financial Crisis" of the 1990s.

"While we are dealing with a different situation since the last time the Indonesian Rupiah hit these terrible lows, the ghost of financial crisis haunts this year's IMF and World Bank meetings in Bali," noted Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte, who tracked IMF and World Bank meetings for the last decade. "The IMF is saying our economy is stable now, but there are some serious risks to stability on the horizon and global inequality is on the rise."

The International Monetary Fund released two reports this week on the state of the global economy. Both the IMF Global Financial Stability Report and World Economic Outlook Report raise concerns around risky behavior and a lack of financial transparency spurring future crisis.   

"A lack of transparency in the financial system and in government budgets is a serious concern around the world," shared LeCompte who serves on UN finance expert groups. "In Indonesia, a lack of budget transparency meant that hundreds of people recently lost their lives from a tsunami when the government did not make minimal investments to repair their tsunami detection system."

LeCompte's organization, Jubilee USA, has organized a high-level event for October 12th during the Annual Meetings which focuses on budget transparency and financial crisis prevention. The event will further explore the need for economic aid and debt relief when countries experience economic shocks or natural disasters. Speakers include Finance Ministers and senior staff from the IMF, G-24 and the Vatican.

Read more about Jubilee USA's Panel at IMF Meetings

Read in Indonesian about Jubilee USA's Panel at IMF Meetings

Read the October 2018 World Economic Outlook Report

Read the Global Financial Stability Report

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Eric LeCompte Speaks to Koran Jakarta on IMF Economic Projections

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA, recently spoke with Koran Jakarta on IMF economic growth projections. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

IMF cuts Indonesia's growth projection to 5.1%

Responding to the IMF projection, Jubilee USA Executive Director, Eric LeCompte, stated the importance of looking at the decline in economic growth from 3.9 percent to 3.7 percent. "From the report, it reminds us that the economic imbalance is again a serious problem and that there is no guarantee that there will be a sense of security from the financial crisis," said LeCompte.

"We see the emergence of unsustainable speculation and debt habits as potential that can trigger a financial crisis," he added.

Read more here.

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Eric LeCompte Speaks to the New Telegraph on Nigerian Debt

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA, recently spoke with the New Telegraph on the debt situation in Nigeria. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

IMF to Nigeria: High oil prices shouldn’t delay reforms

Oil producing countries, including Nigeria, should not be tempted to delay reforms in their countries because of the present high oil prices, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has advised. This counsel came hours after Eric LeCompete, who serves on United Nations experts groups that focus on economic issues, raised the alarm over Nigeria’s and other developing nations’ unsustainable debts, saying it “is a recipe for financial crisis.”

In a related development, Jubilee USA Executive Director, Eric LeCompte, also cautioned Nigeria and other developing economies on the unsustainability of their debts. “We are seeing a growing debt crisis in many developing economies,” stated LeCompete.

“At the same time, we see risky and speculative behaviour on the rise. We know that risky behaviour and unsustainable debt is a recipe for financial crisis.” It would be recalled that since last April, the IMF warned that not enough has been done to prevent future financial crisis.

Read more here.

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Eric LeCompte Cited in Daily Trust on Debt Crisis in Africa

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA, recently spoke with Daily Trust on the debt crisis in Africa. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

Nigeria, other African countries to discuss debt relieve, disaster aid

Eric LeCompte, a financial expert and executive director of Jubilee USA said: “We are seeing growing debt crises in many developing economies, at the same time, we see risky and speculative behaviour on the raise.

“We know that risky behaviour and unsustainable debt is a recipe for financial crises.”

Read more here.

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