Let the watering down begin - Korea, enviro deal
Steelworker forum shows sharp differences on trade

Left wearing nothing but socks

As we warned over two years ago before and after the CAFTA vote, you simply can't trust the executive branch deal-for-vote promises on trade policy - over 90 percent over the last two decades have been broken.

Shocking, but some members didn't listen to lil' ol' us. The latest broken promise comes from Alabama on CAFTA, and it's shaking up the GOP base in the "Sock Capital of the World" there in a big way:

[Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.)] two years ago was convinced, at the last minute, to vote for the Central American Free Trade Agreement based on assurances from the Bush administration that it would negotiate a change to phase out the [sock] tariffs from CAFTA countries over 10 years rather than immediately. That deal, which requires the approval of the affected countries, has not been signed.

94503_sock_on_wrist "The longer we wait, the worse off we are and the harder it is going to be for them to bring into enforcement what they promised," said Charles Cole of Alabama Footwear Inc. in Fort Payne. Cole was in Washington last week on behalf of the domestic sock industry, a key to the economy of northeast Alabama.

About 4,300 people, down from 7,500 in 2005, work in the industry in Alabama.

Cole said imports from Honduras alone are up 50 percent and domestic production has dropped 20 percent since CAFTA took effect, and jobs are being lost.

"We just feel like it's time," Cole said. "They, again, told us they were committed to taking action as was warranted, but we feel like right now taking some action would be better than words."

As Andrew Wolf and I documented last year (PDF), thousands of U.S. sock and apparel jobs have been lost thanks to CAFTA, which has barely been in effect for a full year. In addition to the thousands in Aderholt's district, CAFTA job loss has hit the districts of CAFTA-supporting Reps. Terry Everett (R-Ala.), Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), Ron Lewis (R-Ky.), John Tanner (D-Tenn.), and Harold Rogers (R-Ky.). And CAFTA opponents Reps. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) and John Barrow (D-Ga.) made the CAFTA job loss in their districts a major issue in their slams on their corporate opponents last year.

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