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The Facts About Trade

Update from the Oregon AFL-CIO

Earlier this week, union members and fair trade activists from across the country called Congress to flood the phone lines with one message: Stop the TPP.

If you didn’t get a chance to call, no worries: Just dial 1-855-856-7545 to get updated information and to be automatically connected with your Congressional Representative.

Why are we fighting so hard against the TPP? It’s not because working people oppose trade, it’s because we oppose free trade agreements, like NAFTA and the TPP, which ship our jobs overseas, lower our wages, and demolish environmental and consumer protections. Let’s look at the facts:

  • Yet U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman is trying to get your member of Congress to vote for it. To win the vote, he is uniting with “Republican-friendly organizations” to win votes from the Republican side of the aisle, while ignoring many Democrats who stand with working families.
  • If this deal is so great for working people, why are labor unions and many environmental, consumer and human rights organizations united against it, while the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Fashion Industry Association (representing apparel importers) and other business groups are for it? Can you recall a time when these special interest groups worked hard to create more American jobs and raise our wages?
  • The evidence on corporate-driven trade is in: it fails working families. The United States already is a member of an international trade deal known as the World Trade Organization, and a number of smaller deals called free trade agreements (FTAs).
  • In 2015, the U.S. goods and services trade deficit with the world increased more than $20 billion to $531.5 billion. This figure includes goods trade deficits with WTO partner China (a record $365.7 billion) and trade deal partners Canada ($14.9 billion), Mexico ($58.4 billion) and South Korea ($28.3 billion).

Trade deficits cost jobs. It’s as simple as that. But Congress is being asked to approve another trade agreement that incorporates the same failed trade rules we already have. Instead of falling for another deficit-increasing, job-killing, wage-cutting trade deal, let’s stand up and fight against it. If those facts make you angry, do something about it. Call 1-855-856-7545 and let Congress know what you think.

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