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(Pittsburgh) -- United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard issued the following statement today after the release of a report from the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on the projected economic impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The ITC’s report was required by law.
“This report validates that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is not worth passing. In the past, similar reports have proven to widely underestimate the negative impact of trade agreements on American workers and the economy. This report as mandated by law indicates the TPP will produce almost no benefits, but inflict real harm on so many workers.
“Because of this history, average Americans know that economic projections based on rosy scenarios always end up the same. They pay the price with lost jobs, stagnating or declining wages and rising income inequality as Wall Street profits.
“As the report was being finalized for publication, TPP proponents were touting other biased and optimistic studies in an attempt to blunt the impact of this official study. It is time that we jettison theory and deal with reality: Our nation’s trade policies are in dramatic need of reform.
“This year voters across the country are clearly making trade an issue. Most Washington policymakers and politicians are out of touch with the lives of average Americans. The American public is sick and tired of economists projecting fantasies of prosperity for them when it’s primarily multinational corporations that benefit. On Main Street and in workplaces all across America, working Americans know firsthand the consequences of what economists experience in theory.”
“The report spans almost 800 pages and will require days to parse through and digest. But, the executive summary paints a grim picture for domestic manufacturing producers and workers. While proponents have sung the agreement’s praises, the report estimates that output in manufacturing, natural resources and energy would be lower as a result of the TPP. That’s just totally unacceptable.
“The report also estimates that the trade deficit would increase by $21.7 billion because of the TPP. America cannot afford another trade agreement that adds to our unacceptably high and unsustainable trade deficit.
“Real income is expected to increase, but only by less than one-quarter of one percent in 2032. That amounts to little more than a rounding error in the 15th year after the agreement is in effect. In addition, every study done in the past on the effects of trade agreements has dramatically underestimated the negative impact that has occurred once agreements have been in place.
“The ITC should be commended for its thorough evaluation of the proposed TPP and the open process that it pursued. It is clear that they listened to the array of voices that asked to be heard.
“But in the end, this may be the most damning government report ever submitted for a trade agreement. It is clear that the TPP will be DOA if Congress ever decides to bring it up.”
The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in a wide range of industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors. For more information: http://www.usw.org/.