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United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, Panama will be the only trade deal that I will vote for because they import very little to the United States in the first place. More importantly, this allows for, as I see it, new opportunities for the U.S. gulf and east coast ports. Over 60 percent of the goods shipped through the canal sail to or from the United States. I think they've corrected what needed to be corrected. There is no indication of a loss of American jobs, and I think that's what we should be all about.

As for Colombia, I don't know how anyone could stand in front of the American people and say that Colombia is making progress in terms of stopping the concerted, conspiratorial effort, proven time and time again, of the murder of trade unionists in that country. In fact, there have been no convictions in 94 percent of the cases from 1986 to 2010--6 percent of convictions. I don't know how anybody could stand on this floor, Mr. Speaker, and compare the system of justice there to the system of justice of the United States. Some have suggested, well, we have murders here in this country, too. Of course there are. This is an absolute disgrace. We've lost our soul on this deal, no question about it.

Also, a number of multinational companies didn't want the China currency fixed because it doesn't help their big businesses and their purposes. So let's come to the crux of the issue:

If we'd have put together all the promises that were made to the American workers for the past 25, 30 years on trade deals, we would be very, very disappointed. This deal has come a long way, perhaps, since the last administration, but neither party is privy to perfection here. This is not a one-party rap.

I've read every one of these deals as much as I could, and there are good aspects of the deal, but let's take, for instance, that the United States International Trade Commission does not believe this bill will create jobs. Let me repeat that over and over again.


Mr. PASCRELL. In fact, the updated report they provided to Congress contains a very specific disclaimer that is not an official estimate.

When are we going to stop the hemorrhaging of American jobs? It is part of what we've gone through, both parties, but more importantly, the entire Nation, over the last 4 or 5 years.

Every trade deal does not mean that there are jobs created in this country. In fact, 90 percent of the trade deals have led to a lessening of jobs in the United States of America. So you can't have high hopes, and you don't have the evidence to show it. Let's bring jobs here to this country.

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