An international conference on the moral implications of trade agreements came to a close yesterday. The two-day meeting, led by Catholic bishops, was attended by policymakers, legislators, economists and academics from 19 countries in the Western Hemisphere. Leaders of international financial institutions and other religious leaders also attended.
The theme of the Sept. 7-8 event was Trade, Growth, and Poverty Reduction: Public Policy, Moral Aspects and Social Justice. The conference, held at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, was organized on the heels of the contentious debate over the passage of the U.S.-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).
Cardinals Theodore McCarrick of Washington, Francis George of Chicago, and Oscar Rodriguez of Honduras led the conference and spoke on how trade agreements impact families, communities, workers, and farmers in their respective countries.
The conference was sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank and organized by the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.