September 8, 2011
Statement on Trade Policy in the President’s Jobs Speech
The President’s job speech contained many laudable proposals, but the area where he got it wrong is trade. Americans have two decades of lived experience proving that free trade agreements are not job creation programs. Advancing NAFTA-style trade pacts would be a damaging move for our economy, as well as a missed opportunity to create a new consensus on trade policy that works for all Americans, rather than just Wall Street financial institutions and global corporations.
As to the specific trade proposals in President Obama’s speech, his own International Trade Commission has found that the Korea and Colombia Free Trade Agreements would worsen the trade deficit, meaning that they would serve as net job destroyers for the United States. Government studies further find that industries such as high tech and green manufacturing, which are supposed to provide the jobs of the future, are among those most at risk should these trade pacts be enacted.
Passing more NAFTA-style trade deals is the last thing our country needs. Congressional approval of these business-as-usual agreements would further offshore good-paying American jobs. The American electorate has spoken very clearly during the last few election cycles that it is mad about offshoring and about politicians who support job-killing trade deals. Ignoring public opinion about offshoring and jobs by supporting the Korea, Panama and Colombia pacts would be a huge mistake for any elected official.