Friday, June 12, 2015

Conyers: No More NAFTA-Style Trade Deals

Veteran Michigan Congressman Stands with American Workers to Oppose Trade Promotion Authority

WASHINGTON—Today, Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) released the following statement after voting against Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation to “fast-track” consideration of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP):

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“Today’s House vote will help stop the rush toward another massive job-destroying trade deal.  This development is a win for workers, the environment, and human rights.

“In the two decades since Congress passed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the United States has lost nearly five million manufacturing jobs nationwide and my home state of Michigan has lost one-out-of-three manufacturing jobs.

“I voted against NAFTA then, and I am steadfast in my opposition to the latest corporate trade deal, the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) and its procedural precursor of Trade Promotion Authority, today. 

“The TPP has rightfully been called ‘NAFTA on steroids.’  The deal would force Americans to compete against workers from developing nations like Vietnam, where the minimum wage is less than 60 cents per hour.  Much like NAFTA, the TPP has more to do with big-business protectionism than with genuine free trade.

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership means risking wages, health, and environmental standards in exchange for the promise of some potential gain for global investors.  This is a terrible deal for the vast majority of Americans. 

“Throughout my career in Congress, I have been a steadfast supporter of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for workers displaced by trade agreements, and I remain a champion for this funding.  The TAA bill put forward as part of the ‘Fast Track’ legislative package today is not only underfunded and poorly designed, but also inextricably linked to a legislative measure that will eliminate American jobs.  Which is why the House overwhelmingly opposed it.  

“If we are to succeed in restoring our manufacturing base, rebuilding our great industrial cities, defeating climate change, and protecting our citizens’ health, Washington policymakers need to prioritize real human thriving over the profits of global investors.  We can start by defeating these flawed trade deals.” 

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