Citing stagnant wages, the growing void of jobs that pay livable wages and shuttered manufacturing plants across America, New Castle County Executive Thomas G. Gordon expressed his adamant opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership under consideration by Congress.
The TPP fast-track bill failed in the U.S. Senate Wednesday, May 13, 2015. However, the Senate approved putting it back on the fast track on Thursday, May 14, according to The Wall Street Journal.
County Executive Gordon has accepted an invitation to be the Opening Speaker for a forum on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Fast Track scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, May 18 at Kirkwood Library.
“I look across this hollowed out country since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and this era in which we buy almost everything from China and I see a lot of people hurting from an economic perspective,” County Executive Gordon said. “It boggles my mind that our leaders in Washington, D.C. have actually entertained these agreements as potentially helping the United States despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”
Since the implementation of NAFTA in 1993, the trade deficit between America and Canada and Mexico has reached a staggering $181 billion, according to Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.
The County Executive noted that while figures have shown a growth in overall jobs of 40 million since implementation of NAFTA in 1993 under President Clinton, a closer analysis of those jobs reveals that most of them have been service sector jobs in lieu of higher paying manufacturing jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average U.S. wage has grown less than 1 percent annually since NAFTA’s inception despite increases in worker productivity (http://www.citizen.org/documents/NAFTA-at-20.pdf).
“When you have all the oil and food that you need you don’t have to buy elsewhere,” County Executive Gordon said. “The only ones who have benefited from this raw deal for Americans are the corporations that abandoned us some time ago in favor of cheaper, unsafe labor overseas.”
In sum, he said treaties like the Trans Pacific Partnership would follow the NAFTA promise of turning Mexico into a first-world country that instead brought America closer to third-world status.
Delaware Building Trades President James Maravelias, who was pleased to hear of the Executive’s opposition, also emphasized the need for Congress to understand that any international trade agreement must be fair to American Workers.
"At its core, TPP is an extension of NAFTA,” Mr. Maravelias said. “According to Global Trade Watch’s assessment of NAFTA’s ‘20 Year Legacy,’ an estimated one million jobs have been lost to NAFTA. According to an Economic Policy Institute estimate, under TPP, the United States stands to lose more than 130,000 jobs to Vietnam and Japan alone.”