USW Pres. Gerard Statement on TPP Coming to Closure

The Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal should not be submitted to Congress

Contact:  Gary Hubbard, 202-256-8125,

Pittsburgh (Oct. 5) – Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers (USW), issued the following statement as negotiations on the 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)are coming to closure.

“Since negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) started, the cleared advisors of the United Steelworkers (USW) have devoted substantial resources and time to working with the trade negotiators responsible for developing and advancing U.S. interests in the trade talks.  

“Because the USW is the largest industrial union in North America, we see the real-life effects of trade policy every day.  That is why we are paying close attention to the provisions that have the potential to harm the majority of our membership. 

“From what we know, the draft TPP threatens the future of production and employment.   It compromises the so-called 21st century standards that were supposed to form the foundation for this agreement. It will deal a critical blow to workers and their standard of living in the United States. 

“Although the final text has not been made available and will contain some new bells and whistles; from what we have seen and know, at its core the hastily concluded TPP deal will simply continue today’s outdated, disastrous approach to trade.

“This TPP deal shouldn’t even be submitted to Congress and, if it is, it should be quickly rejected.

“You only have to look at the consistently dismal job numbers in manufacturing to understand what every manufacturing worker already knows. We have been on the losing end of trade deals. 

“Once again, it appears that misguided foreign policy and global corporate interests have trumped sound economics and the opportunity to get things right.  Our negotiators are trying to beat the clock to close a deal so they can rush it through Congress before next year’s elections. 

“TPP is sold as a way for the United States to write the rules of trade before China does.   In many areas, the agreement fails this objective and the language on rules of origin will put a smile on the faces of China’s leaders.   China didn’t get to write the rules in their favor because our American negotiators did it for them. 

“The rule of origin on autos governs how much of a vehicle’s content must be produced by the twelve TPP countries to get the preferential treatment the TPP will provide.   In this quickly concluded deal on rules of origin, Chinese-produced auto parts could account for more than a majority of a car’s parts and still get sweetheart treatment.  While China is not as yet a party to the twelve-nation TPP, the TPP is designed so that other countries can join.

“In many other areas critical to workers, U.S. negotiators refused to take the advice that was provided to them time and time again by the representatives of working people.   But while supporters tout the deal, those promises will fall on deaf ears.   Workers across this country have had to fight to get our trade rules enforced in the face of inadequate enforcement and constant cheating by our trading partners.  

“Even the best rules, which were not included in TPP, if unenforced, are essentially worthless.  How trade rules are implemented, how we monitor imports, obtain market access for our exports and how we enforce our rules are all critical to any deal’s success.

“So far, there has been no progress or willingness of the Administration to even discuss specific steps that could be taken.

“TPP may be the final blow to manufacturing in America.  Our producers and workers are under siege from other nations’ massive overproduction, foreign currency devaluation, our own lack of long-term infrastructure investment and the strong dollar. 

“Therefore, trade policy is not the only issue that determines what the economic prospects will be for working people. But, trade is the critical link to the world economy and global pressures are being felt in virtually every occupation and in every workplace.” 

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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:   #  #  #

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Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Wayne Ranick at 412-562-2444

Washington D.C. Public Affairs and Legislative Issues:
Gary Hubbard at 202-778-4384

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor Jim McKay

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

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United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222