WASHINGTON, D.C. - Marking the ten-year anniversary of the World Trade Organization (WTO) demonstrations in Seattle and the Nov. 30-Dec 2 WTO ministerial in Geneva, Switzerland, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) today announced that they will reintroduce the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development, and Employment (TRADE) Act. Brown first introduced the TRADE Act in 2008.
The legislation would revamp U.S. trade policy by mandating trade pact reviews, establishing higher standards, protecting workers in developing nations, and restoring Congressional oversight of future trade agreements. The bill would mandate trade pact reviews, establish standards, protect workers in developing nations, and would help restore Congressional oversight of future trade agreements.
"We want trade and we want more of it. But, we need a new direction," Brown said. "Done wrong, trade sends our jobs overseas. Done right, trade can foster new business and job growth at home, and can lift up workers in developing nations. The TRADE ACT will help Congress and the White House craft a trade policy that benefits workers, business owners, and our nation."
Brown, who attended the 1999 protests in Seattle, is an outspoken advocate in Congress for a new trade policy. He recently introduced the Trade Enforcement Priorities Act (TEPA) which would revive "Super 301" authorities to combat unfair trade practices.
Brown, who led the bipartisan House opposition to the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), was joined today by fellow advocates U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND)); Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers; Andy Gussert, director of Citizens Trade Campaign for the media briefing.
"I'm in favor of trade and plenty of it, but our current trade agreements have led to record trade deficits," Dorgan said. "It is long past the time to take the steps to improve our trade agreements and strengthen the American economy."
This year alone, 198,258 jobs have been lost across the country due to trade related issues. Ohio has experienced 20,912 trade related job losses in the last two years and nearly 40,000 trade related job losses in the last four years.
"For too long our nation's trade policy has exploited workers, betrayed middle class families, and destroyed communities," Brown said. It is time for a trade policy that works for everyone, not just a few."
The TRADE ACT would:
• Require the Government Accountability Office to conduct a comprehensive review of existing trade agreements with an emphasis on economic results, enforcement and compliance, and an analysis of non-tariff provisions in trade agreements;
• Spell out standards for labor and environmental protections, food and product safety, national security exceptions, and remedies that must be included in new trade pacts;
• Set requirements with respect to public services, farm policy, investment, government procurement, and affordable medicines that have been incorporated in trade agreements;
• Require the president to submit renegotiation plans for current trade pacts prior to negotiating new agreements and prior to congressional consideration of pending agreements; and
• Restore Congressional oversight of trade agreements.