U.S. Reps. Chris Collins (R-NY-27) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY-25) today led a bipartisan letter from members of the New York congressional delegation to President Barack Obama opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
TPP is a free trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 countries: Malaysia, Mexico, Japan, Vietnam, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, Peru and Singapore. Members sent the letter as final negotiations are currently underway between the U.S. administration and the participating foreign countries.
"Western New York bears the scars of poorly negotiated past free trade agreements - scars like lost jobs, shuttered factories and a generation lost to economic opportunities that were outsourced to foreign competitors," Collins said. "I cannot support a trade agreement that once again threatens America's working middle class, and fails to address several of the biggest challenges facing American manufacturers, including currency manipulation and intellectual property protection.
"I want to thank Congresswoman Slaughter for her leadership on this issue and the rest of the New York delegation who joined us in signing this letter."
Slaughter said, "I have never seen a trade agreement that benefited the American manufacturer or American worker, and the TPP will just be more of the same. Rochester lost tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs under NAFTA, culminating in one of the highest poverty rates in America. We're beginning to make progress when it comes to reigniting our manufacturing base in upstate New York. This bipartisan opposition to the TPP is making clear to the administration that another NAFTA-style agreement would be bad for New York and the country."
In the bipartisan letter signed by 19 members of New York's congressional delegation, the lawmakers write: "We are united in our opposition to the agreement and in our belief that the TPP will harm many working and middle-class families in New York and across the country."
The lawmakers also pointed out that, "since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements took effect in 1994, our state has lost more than 370,000 manufacturing jobs."
Additionally, "this TPP agreement has no effective measures to address currency manipulation. Currency manipulation is one of the greatest issues facing American manufacturers today and is estimated to have suppressed millions of U.S. jobs."
"History shows us that free trade agreements have resulted in trade deficits and the loss of millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs and there is no indication TPP will provide a different outcome," said Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26. "The impact is devastating, particularly to Western New York, where thousands of jobs have been shipped overseas so large corporations can bypass labor safety and environmental standards and take advantage of cheap labor."