Mr. PALLONE. Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to the three free trade pacts up for consideration this week. It's essential that we work to keep jobs here in the United States, and I believe the trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama will cost U.S. jobs. We should be doing everything we can to create jobs and advance economic opportunity here at home.
These trade pacts are modeled on the NAFTA agreement, and the results will be the same. In the last decade alone, we've lost 55,000 manufacturing plants and 6 million jobs with NAFTA in place. We don't want to repeat the ill effects of NAFTA. The essential issue at hand, Madam Speaker, is that trade deals between a large economy and a smaller economy naturally benefit the smaller economy, in this case South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. The economies of these countries are a fraction of the size of the U.S. economy, and they will stand to benefit greatly by exporting their goods here while, I fear, U.S. exports will not have the same advantage.
Madam Speaker, we should be focusing on passing the American Jobs Act, which provides incentives to businesses to hire new workers in the United States, and not passing free trade pacts that will further encourage U.S. companies to move jobs overseas.