In advance of President Obama's trip to Asia, Congressman Brad Sherman (D--CA), the Ranking Member of the trade subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Congressman Alan Grayson (D--FL) of the Foreign Affairs Committee, held a press teleconference to counter the geopolitical and foreign policy arguments raised by supporters of the jobs-killing Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP). The Representatives also highlighted key findings from a new report released by Public Citizen. The report chronicles the use of the same unfounded foreign policy, geopolitical and economic arguments to promote previous trade agreements.
As noted by Congressman Sherman, the foreign policy arguments in support of TPP mimicked many false claims made to promote previous trade agreements.
Highlights from Congressman Brad Sherman:
"Even if the TPP were an effective foreign policy tool, which it is not, no geopolitical benefit could outweigh the massively detrimental effect that this agreement will have on American jobs and the American economy. If the past is any indication, this trade deal will contribute to our expanding U.S. global trade deficit and lead to enormous losses in U.S. jobs."
"Some have falsely argued that the TPP would help contain China's growing economic influence and power in the Pacific Rim. In reality, this agreement would expand Chinese exports to the United States. Under the agreement, goods 50%, 60% or even 70%* made in China and then finished in Japan or Vietnam, would get duty free access to the U.S. markets. With a little fudging, goods 70%, 80% or 90% Chinese made will benefit from the agreement. China gets all this and doesn't need to even sign the agreement or even pretend to make a concession."
"I have opposed NAFTA, CAFTA, KORUS, MFN for China, and a host of other trade deals we have adopted over the last two decades. These trade deals were sold on the premise that they would expand U.S. job growth and boost American exports; however, these trade agreements contributed to a massive U.S. global trade deficit and enormous losses in U.S. jobs, especially in the manufacturing sector."
Highlights from Congressman Alan Grayson:
"These free trade agreements push us further and further into debt. Before NAFTA or any of these other free trade agreements went into effect, the United States often had trade surpluses. Since NAFTA went into effect, we have never had a trade deficit of less than $140 billion. In the past twelve years, we've had a trade deficit of at least $350 billion every single year. A $350 billion trade deficit means that foreigners have $350 billion to buy our assets. That number increases each year, with no end in sight. We are basically taking America and selling it off cheaply. The TPP will accelerate this process."
"So now we're being told to vote for these "free trade agreements" for reasons that have nothing to do with trade. Proponents of TPP cannot promote these trade deals on their merits -- because these trade deals take a bad problem, and make it worse -- so instead, they try to change the subject. They string together words and phrases that allude to our foreign policy concerns, without providing any logical explanation as to how the TPP -- or any other free trade agreement -- would actually improve our foreign policy."
Highlights from Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch:
"The same old foreign policy arguments get trotted out to sell trade agreements after the economic case fails. Repeatedly, Congress has approved bad deals based on dire predictions that failure to do so would mean diminished U.S. power, the takeover of important markets by competitors or foreign instability, only to find that many of those predictions came true in spite of, and sometimes even because of, pacts' enactment."