U.S. Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) today responded to the passage of three job-killing trade agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia:
"Unfortunately today the House of Representatives voted for three more free trade agreements that will lead to the further erosion of our already degraded manufacturing base. In the case of South Korea, Korean auto parts manufacturers are guaranteed easier access to American markets and in exchange the U.S. may be able to export more beef. Even the cheerleaders at the United States International Trade Commission admit that this agreement will increase our trade deficit which means we will lose more jobs.
"The Panama agreement is horrible. It gives the Western Hemisphere's leader in sheltering drug runners and money laundering corporations better and freer access to the U.S. economy. Panama is a country with the population of Oregon and home to over 400,000 corporations seeking to avoid U.S. taxes and laws. Under this agreement, they will enjoy greater access to U.S. markets. This will not bode well for the future.
"And finally the Colombian agreement. The Colombian government murders labor activists seeking better working conditions as a national policy. They promise they won't do it anymore and in exchange average Colombians, who earn $9,000 per capita, will put all of their earnings toward buying U.S. goods. Yet one more bait and switch. Colombia will become yet another base for U.S. manufacturers to access cheap, exploited labor to export goods back to American markets.
"We need a new trade policy for this country. We cannot continue to hemorrhage our manufacturing jobs and industrial base to countries that don't compete fairly. These three agreements were written by the Bush administration and are unfortunately endorsed by the Obama administration and they will be a disaster for this country."