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Public Statements

Letter to the Honorable Barack Obama, the President of the United States

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown

Rep. Perriello has joined with members of the House Trade Working Group to oppose President Obama's recent announcement that he will work to send the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement to be approved by Congress. Perriello has consistently opposed more NAFTA-style free trade agreements because of their devastating effects on manufacturing and industry in Central and Southern Virginia.

"Southside Virginia has continued to suffer under NAFTA and the WTO: 5,900 5th district jobs lost to China between 2001 and 2008. We need better trade that benefits American workers, not deals that will send our jobs offshore. We must go after China aggressively for illegal dumping and for manipulating its currency. I have consistently stood up to both parties on this issue and affirm that we cannot have any new NAFTA-style agreements and must put American workers first again," said Rep. Perriello.

Since becoming a member of the House Trade Working Group and the Populist Caucus, Rep. Perriello has been active in blocking efforts to expand job-killing free trade agreements and supporting efforts to bolster American manufacturing. When the Obama Administration tried last year to pass the Columbia and Panama Free Trade Agreements, Perriello joined with his colleagues to successfully stop them. He also fought to block illegal Chinese "dumping" of rubber that could hurt the tire industry in America and its related jobs. Among Perriello's actions are:

Voted to close the tax loophole that rewards corporations for shipping jobs overseas

* Opposed the Panama and Columbia free trade agreements
* Supported "Buy American" rules for government contractors
* Cosponsored H.R. 3012, the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment (TRADE) Act, to reform trade negotiations and renegotiate past trade agreements to include environmental and labor standards
* Cosponsored H.R. 2378, the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, to expose China's currency manipulation
* Cosponsored H.R. 4692, the National Manufacturing Strategy Act of 2010, to require the President to undertake a deep and broad analysis of the nation's manufacturing sector (due for a vote this week)
* Cosponsored H.R. 1875, the End the Trade Deficit Act, to establish a trade deficit reduction commission, responsible for developing a plan to overcome the deficit within ten years (due for a vote this week)

The full text of the letter to President Obama is below and the PDF is available here:

July 22, 2010
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Obama:

We write today to request a meeting with you to discuss your plan to bring the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to Congress for a vote next year. A meeting will allow us to discuss our specific concerns with you and to identify a way to unify the Democratic Party and all Americans on the issue of trade.

The Korea FTA, as negotiated by President George W. Bush's administration, is another NAFTA-style FTA that we simply cannot support in its current form. We oppose specific provisions of the agreement in the financial services, investment, and labor chapters, because they benefit multi-national corporations at the expense of small businesses and workers. And we strongly object to the non-tariff barriers to the Korean market that numerous U.S. industries -- including the auto, beef, and textile sectors -- will continue to face even as their Korean counterparts receive virtually total access to the American market.

At a time when our economy is struggling to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression, it is unthinkable to consider moving forward with another job-killing FTA. We recognize, as you do, that done right, trade agreements can create jobs as they increase exports and help our economy recover. But done wrong, trade agreements send those same jobs off-shore, benefitting a narrow class of investors while leaving average Americans worse off. Americans believe that more NAFTA-style agreements will derail, not promote, our economic recovery.

Ratifying this pact without major changes to the text will exacerbate the U.S. trade deficit; further erode the U.S. manufacturing base; jeopardize our efforts to guard against another global economic meltdown; and make the U.S. government vulnerable to compensation demands in foreign tribunals raised by Korean companies doing business within our borders. Moreover, it is simply out of touch with what the overwhelming majority of American people want.

We ask for this meeting to discuss with you specific proposals to improve the Korea FTA and the overall U.S. trade model. We must take advantage of this unique and historic opportunity to unite the Democratic Party and all Americans behind a new trade policy that benefits big and small companies and blue and white collar workers alike.

Sincerely,

Tom Perriello
Member of Congress


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