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Obama Administration’s Dr. Jekyll Jobs and Mr. Hyde Trade Policy Schizophrenia

Statement of Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

Whether schizophrenic or cynical, the reality is that we have the Dr. Jekyll administration saying that we need to boost manufacturing jobs while the Mr. Hyde administration is about to submit to Congress the U.S-Korea Free Trade Agreement, which  government studies show will slam seven key U.S. manufacturing sectors. (See chart below for the U.S. International Trade Commission’s [USITC] projections of losing U.S. manufacturing sectors if the Korea trade deal were to go into effect, available on Table 2.3 of the study.)

USITC Estimates of U.S. Industrial Sectors That Would Face Declining Trade Balances if the Korea FTA Is Implemented

 

Change in U.S. global trade balance (millions of dollars)

 

Low

High

Motor vehicles and parts

($531)

($708)

Other transportation equipment

($340)

($293)

Electronic equipment

($790)

($762)

Metal products

($169)

($187)

Textiles

($169)

($190)

Apparel

($56)

($74)

Iron-containing metals

($65)

($75)

The U.S. government’s own study of the Korea trade pact projects an overall increase in the U.S. trade deficit and identifies seven major industrial sectors that will be hardest hit if the deal, which was signed by former President George W. Bush and is based on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), is implemented. This includes the “jobs of the future” in manufacturing related to solar, high speed trains, computers and more.

Today, the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness called for rebuilding American manufacturing while President Barack Obama visited a high-tech manufacturer, even as the Obama administration is expected to submit a trade deal to Congress that we know will hurt our manufacturing sector. That is worse than ironic; it is destructive.

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