Trans-Pacific and us

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Pennsylvanians deserve our jobs to be "onshored" not "offshored." Attempts to bring jobs once shipped overseas back to Pennsylvania deserve our support. The first step in making this change is for politicians to demand more congressional oversight in trade policy, in particular, the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership.

There is no question that our state could use the jobs. Data from the U.S. Labor Department shows that Pennsylvania has lost an estimated 169,117 manufacturing jobs due to direct offshoring and displacement by imports since the North American Free Trade Agreement was first enacted in 1994. This figure does not include service-sector jobs.

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz's website states, "Too many Americans are still out of work and too many families are struggling. We must use the World Trade Organization (WTO) and our bilateral trade agreements to hold our trading partners accountable for practices that hurt American industry and workers."

The proposed, 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership would create new rules governing trade and investment covering approximately 40 percent of the global economy, and it contains mechanisms that would allow additional countries to join over time. The pact is just a way to open foreign markets to U.S.-made goods, but the TPP threatens efforts to support U.S. job creation.

In addition, the TPP is also likely to include limitations on "Buy American" and "Buy Local" government procurement programs that keep taxpayer dollars circulating in Pennsylvania's economy, as well as financial services deregulation that could threaten the economy as a whole.

Administration officials have announced a goal of completing the pact this year. It is essential that members of Pennsylvania's congressional delegation exercise their constitutional authority and insist that each provision of the pact is negotiated in the best interests of Pennsylvania's working families. The first step is opposing fast track for the TPP so our members of Congress can ensure trade policies work for Pennsylvania.

ALEX MINISHAK
Executive Board Member
Pennsylvania Fair Trade Coalition
Philadelphia


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