UNITED STATES-BAHRAIN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACT -- (House of Representatives - December 07, 2005)
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Mr. KILDEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 4340, the Bahrain Trade Agreement. Although our trade with Bahrain is limited, this agreement is a symptom of what is wrong with our Nation's trade policies.
I firmly believe that we should have a thorough review of the impact of these free trade agreements so that we can create a national trade policy that protects the American manufacturing industries. We need an American trade policy that encourages the export of American manufactured goods, not our American manufacturing jobs.
Mr. Speaker, that is why I have introduced H.R. 4407, a bill to impose a 2-year moratorium on negotiating or conclusion of any additional free trade agreements. As our trade deficit continues to set new records, we should call a `timeout' on this headlong rush into these free trade agreements. Our current domestic trade policy encourages the closing down of American factories and moving them overseas, usually to a country where wages are low and environmental standards are lower. This race to the bottom has real consequences, and it's time to stop negotiating bad trade deals that make American jobs our leading export.
For years, the American people have been promised that bilateral and regional trade agreements would throw open the doors of international markets eager for American goods. However, in the 10 years following passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which I opposed, millions of American jobs have been lost, threatening entire industries that were once bedrocks of this country. And China and Japan continue to manipulate their currencies without any significant pressure from our government, tilting an already uneven playing field further away from America.
Nearly three million manufacturing jobs have been lost since the Bush Administration took office in 2001. In 2004, the United States had a record $162 billion deficit on goods trade with China and a $617 billion trade deficit on goods and services worldwide. Eliminating tariffs and allowing companies to exploit foreign labor has destroyed entire American industries and has resulted in the highest American trade deficit ever, placing America at a huge economic disadvantage.
Mr Speaker, our current trade policies have failed the American worker and the average American family. We cannot continue to the hemorrhaging of our manufacturing jobs and expect our economy to be strong.
Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote no on this free trade agreement with Bahrain, and any free trade agreements in the future, until we can create an American trade policy that is in the best interests of the American people.
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