For Immediate Release
June 4, 2008
New Trade Reform Bill Addresses Public Demand for Change
Oregon Fair Trade Campaign Praises Rep. DeFazio for Cosponsoring Legislation
PORTLAND, OR — Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-4th) was one of over fifty original House cosponsors on new trade reform legislation introduced today with the support of the many of the nation’s leading labor, environmental, family farm and faith organizations.The Oregon Fair Trade Campaign praised the Congressman for his support of the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment (TRADE) Act.
The TRADE Act establishes a process for reviewing and renegotiating existing trade agreements; sets criteria for what must be included in future trade agreements; and reasserts Congressional authority in the trade policymaking process.Issued covered by the legislation include labor rights, the environment, food safety, national security and more.
“The general public has long understood that trade agreements like NAFTA have done more to hurt than to help the U.S. economy,” said Arthur Stamoulis, director of the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign.“The TRADE Act would go a long way towards ensuring that trade deals actually benefit ordinary Americans and strengthen our economy.Congressman DeFazio deserves praise for his leadership on this issue.”
“The TRADE Act would make sure that the benefits of trade go to workers as well as the richest few,” said James Hoffa, president of the international Teamsters union.“It sets new rules for global trade that create good jobs and improve working conditions everywhere.”
“This bill breaks new ground on the enforcement of labor rights, environmental protection, food and product safety, procurement, safeguards against surges of imports, trade remedies against unfair trade practices and the ability for countries to regulate foreign investment,” said Bruce Raynor, president of UNITE HERE.
“The TRADE Act restores Congress’s constitutional right of oversight in trade policy. The Bush Administration has trampled on that right,” said Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America. “The landmark legislation that is being introduced today will ensure that no matter who occupies the Oval Office, Congress will have a meaningful say in trade policy.”
“The TRADE Act encourages responsible behavior, providing a blueprint for a far better and more balanced way to conduct international trade,” said Brent Blackwelder, president of Friends of the Earth.
Past trade agreements have had a harmful impact on the U.S. economy. Since 1975, when Fast Track was first enacted, the federal trade deficit shifted from a slight surplus to an unsustainable $709 billion deficit in 2007.A net 4.7 million manufacturing jobs have been lost, and despite a doubling of worker productivity in the U.S., median U.S. wages are only 1 percent above 1970s levels.
National polling results released May 1 by the Pew Research Center found, “There is now broad agreement that free trade negatively affects wages, jobs and economic growth in America.By greater than six-to-one, the public says free trade agreements result in job losses rather than in new jobs.”
“This legislation is a balanced way to expand trade, offering us all a fair way forward,” said Andy Gussert, national director of the Citizens Trade Campaign.“It means future trade agreements can better serve a majority of people on issues such as jobs, the environment, human rights and public health.”
For more information on the TRADE Act, visit: http://www.citizenstrade.org/