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August 03, 2011

Pelosi pushes back against Obama-backed unfair trade agreements

The Hill reports that:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pushed back Wednesday against several pending free-trade agreements championed by President Obama.

The California Democrat signaled doubts that looming trade deals with South Korea, Panama and Colombia would benefit U.S. workers. President Obama on Tuesday called on Congress to approve the deals, which he and Republicans argue would create jobs.

“The White House may support it, but the Congress may have a different view,” Pelosi warned on MSNBC.

During a lengthy interview, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell suggested that the long-delayed trade pacts “could have produced more jobs.”

Pelosi responded, “Well, that's debatable.”

Unlike Mitchell and too many other reporters, Pelosi may have examined the government's own numbers, which show that the U.S.-Korea and U.S.-Colombia deals will increase the U.S. trade deficit. Or she may have examined the record of past trade deals, which have led to loss of U.S. jobs, and accounted for lower-than-average export growth.

Or she may have examined the text of the U.S.-Panama trade pact, which effectively excludes the Panama Canal expansion project from its scope. (See here, page 17.) That project is the one commercially meaningful piece of business happening in that economy, which specializes in offshore tax evasion. It will give Panama new tools to attack U.S. financial transparency initiatives, just as they've used trade pact rules in the past to successfully attack Colombia's (all too scarce) attempts to address money laundering.

And all three pacts will allow corporations to challenge environmental and public health initiatives, in foreign tribunals, outside the U.S. court system, for taxpayer funded compensation. These investor rules wreak havoc wherever they go.

Congrats to Pelosi for standing up for jobs instead of corporate/ideological initiatives like the three unfair trade deals.

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