(Pittsburgh) – The United Steelworkers issued the following statement today in response to the release of the text of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement:
The USW is unalterably opposed to the TPP because it’s a dagger twisting in the heart of American manufacturing. Even the Wall Street Journal predicted the deal would cause a massive trade deficit in manufacturing which would result in hundreds of thousands of job losses. This sector has yet to share broadly in the economic recovery and is shedding good, family supportive jobs at an ever-increasing pace.
The TPP provides incentives for U.S. companies to outsource production and offshore jobs – and that is far from the kind of trade policy America needs. The TPP may gain the United States brownie points with other countries, but at the cost of American economic strength and national security.
In section after section, this proposed agreement compromises America’s economic future and inflicts enormous damage. Workers, like our members, have been on the losing end of trade agreements for far too long, and this deal fails to change that. That is because it does nothing to stop international rule breakers – and countries like China will once again be the winners.
Here are some problems in the TPP’s hundreds of pages of text, side agreements and sweetheart deals:
- The TPP would dramatically increase job loss in our nation’s manufacturing sector.
- The TPP’s rules of origin in autos and auto parts would allow China to provide a majority of a car’s parts.
- The TPP would not stop currency manipulation.
- The TPP would fail to stop state-owned enterprises (SOE’s) from receiving state support and protection, and the new chapter would create a legal quagmire.
- The TPP would result in foreign workers continuing to suffer violations of their rights since protection provisions are still limited. The plan negotiated with Vietnam would allow this country to receive up to seven years of reduced tariff benefits while still violating worker and human rights. Negotiators failed to get Mexico to agree to specific and much-needed reforms in its labor laws. There is no formal plan to ensure that U.S. engagement and enforcement in this critical area would change at all.
- The TPP would give foreign corporations greater substantive and procedural rights than domestic firms to challenge government policies intended to protect the public interest. Corporations may potentially receive taxpayer compensation under investor-state dispute (ISDS) resolution provisions when they challenge domestic laws.
- Finally, the TPP would do nothing to ensure that any of the provisions would, in fact, be enforced.
The TPP has been promoted as a 21st century trade agreement, but this free trade deal would take American workers backward, not forward.
The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors. For more information: http://www.usw.org/.
# # #