Larry Kissell, 27 year veteran of the local textile industry and Democratic candidate for Congress in North Carolina's 8th district, marked the anniversary of the most infamous political flip-flop in North Carolina history today.
"Today marks the one year anniversary of Robin Hayes' pledge to vote against CAFTA. A pledge he quickly flip-flopped on after the President asked him to change his vote. Robin Hayes folded under pressure from the President and we're paying the price back here in North Carolina. Hayes claims the President gave him concessions to help our local manufacturing and textile businesses, but the only concessions I'm seeing in the 8th district are the ones families make as they work to hold on to their homes and businesses in this tough economic time," said Kissell.
Today's anniversary comes just as the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote late next week on the trade pact with the Gulf Arab state of Oman. The Senate approved the deal last month 60-34.
In his June 26 message to Congress encouraging a vote for the trade deal, President Bush claimed "The FTA will benefit the people of the United States and Oman, illustrating for other developing countries the advantages of open markets and increased trade." Over 70% of Oman's textile-heavy work force is migrant labor from surrounding areas. As proven by last years CAFTA, and NAFTA before it, the trade deal will likely be disastrous for North Carolina's manufacturing dependent 8th District.
CNN's Lou Dobbs said on his June 28 program, "Under the Oman free trade agreement, foreign port operators would have a right, an absolute trade agreement right, to establish operations, to acquire, to operate, to run port facilities within the U.S."
Under the Cross Border Trade in Services chapter of the U.S.-Oman Free Trade Agreement, a Dubai Ports World-type enterprise could acquire a company in Oman, and then operate U.S. ports through that company. Additionally, the U.S.-Oman FTA threatens American jobs. For example, AMTAC (American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition) states that the agreement includes a ridiculously large tariff preference level (TPL) of 50 million sq meters of textiles annually for 10 years, which will mean that Chinese yarns and fabrics will be shipped to Oman, cut and sewn into garments and then exported duty-free to the U.S.
"As if sending our jobs overseas isn't bad enough, the Oman trade deal could threaten our homeland security. The Republicans in Congress tried this once before by giving control of our ports to those who give safe haven to terrorists. That's why I'm going to hold Robin's feet to the fire to keep this newest trade deal from passing," said Kissell.