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Public Statements

United States-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement Implementation Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. DeFAZIO. The United States of America has failed trade policies. They are unlike any other in the world. And I guess the question before this body today should be: Will these trade policies create jobs? The answer is yes. Will they create jobs in America? The answer is no.

Like all the other free trade agreements we've entered into, these are designed to benefit multinational companies seeking cheap labor and fewer restrictions in terms of the environment and labor protections and other things overseas. That's what these are about. They're also about transshipment of goods with the low content requirement in Korea. Yeah, goods will be cheaper. Made in China, maybe made by slave labor in North Korea, those will be really cheap.

American consumers who don't have jobs will benefit from this. No, American consumers would benefit a heck of a lot more if their neighbors had jobs, if they had jobs and if our kids had a future. Passing more of these free trade agreements, which has led to this sea of red ink, isn't going to fix the problem.

Directly before us now is Panama. Now, Panama has a very interesting economy, mostly bolstered by being a tax haven and money laundering center. Now, the agreement that we're voting on doesn't prohibit that, but there's a separate agreement entered into by the administration that will go into effect a year from now. It doesn't require an automatic exchange of tax information between the U.S. and Panama, unlike other countries where we have these sorts of agreements. We must know what we want and submit detailed information to Panama, and Panama might or might not honor that request; i.e., we submit a request for drug money laundering. They say, ``You have to be more specific.''

``Name the drug money people's deposits.''

``Well, we can't do that.''

``All right. Forget about it.''

We can name them. Good. But then Panama says they won't give us the information if it is contradictory to their public policy; i.e., the way they make a living, by being the largest Western Hemisphere haven for the laundering of drug money, as a tax haven, and also terrorist money in recent cases. We're going to facilitate that with this agreement.

Somehow, a country with 3.5 million people, about the same size as my State but a much lower income per capita, has 400,000 corporations domiciled there, almost one for every Panamanian.

No, these aren't really domiciled there. They're very conveniently avoiding our laws and the laws of other advanced nations around the world.


Mr. DeFAZIO. As I said yesterday on Colombia, the noted economist Joseph Stiglitz says that our agriculture--yes, we'll get a few agriculture jobs--will displace traditional agriculture in Colombia, causing huge disruptions in that country, driving people to produce more coca. But don't worry. Right next door, the Colombian drug lords will be able to deposit their money and not have to worry about the U.S. finding out about it--right next door in Panama. How convenient.

This is really a great series of trade agreements.

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