NYT: A Trade Deal and the Threat to American Jobs

To the Editor:

Re “Congress’s Critical Role on Trade” (editorial, March 2):

You write, “Congress has a responsibility to give the American negotiators clear instructions on what it would like to see” in a trade agreement. We agree, but in the case of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, those instructions are five years late.

[Reposted from the NYT Opinion Pages  |  March 6, 2015]

Negotiations for the T.P.P. began in 2010, and they’re pretty far along. Congress still has some influence, but passing “fast track” would undermine its leverage. That’s because fast track forces Congress to vote yes or no on a completed deal. Congress would have no opportunity to offer amendments on behalf of working people.

Fast track is a blank check to negotiate a corporate wish list in secret. All of the trade agreements passed under fast track have failed to live up to their promise. Instead, they have contributed to huge trade deficits, stagnant wages and a deteriorating middle class.

Trade can work for workers both here and abroad, as you outlined, but not through fast track, which undermines worker bargaining power and leaves democratic principles behind.

RICHARD TRUMKA

President, A.F.L.-C.I.O.

Washington

To the Editor:

You correctly highlighted currency manipulation as a significant threat to American jobs. When our trading partners manipulate their currencies, they gain a one-sided competitive advantage that inflicts damage on the American economy.

American automakers support a three-part test that is narrowly focused on the most egregious currency policy — direct intervention — and that in no way restricts the ability of any country, including the United States, to engage in independent monetary policies.

The three-part test is met when a country is running an account surplus, maintains more than sufficient foreign exchange reserves, and then adds to its foreign exchange reserves. This proposal would simply add teeth to existing commitments that American trading partners have agreed to in the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization.

With strong bipartisan support for addressing the issue in the House and the Senate, it is imperative that enforceable rules prohibiting currency manipulation be included in all future American trade agreements.

MATT BLUNT

President

American Automotive Policy Council

Washington

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