CLEVELAND, OH – As Congress begins debate on fast track authority for the Obama Administration to finalize negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other NAFTA-style trade agreements, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined northeast Ohio workers to stand up for American jobs and call for fair trade that puts American workers and businesses first.
“Our trade deals amount to corporate handouts and worker sellouts,” Brown said. “While the talent and tenacity of American workers hasn’t changed, their ability to compete has been hamstrung by NAFTA-style trade deals. Trade done right creates prosperity – leveling the playing field for all companies, strengthening the middle class, and lifting workers from poverty. But we cannot allow another trade deal negotiated in secret to shortchange our workers and ship jobs overseas. The last thing we need is another NAFTA.”
At USW Local 979 on Monday, Brown was joined by David Caldwell, assistant to the director, District 1, USW; Tim Burga, president, Ohio AFL-CIO; and Ryan Dietz, a former U.S. Steel worker who was laid off due to unfair trade practices.
The Obama Administration is conducting TPP talks under the leadership of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and is seeking fast track authority to expedite congressional consideration of the agreement when it is completed. Fast track lapsed in 2007. The TPP is a proposed trade agreement that currently includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
Congress is considering giving the Administration renewed fast track authority, known as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to conclude TPP negotiations, as well as other trade initiatives. In the past, fast track authority has resulted in NAFTA-style trade deals that have shipped jobs overseas, shuttered Ohio manufacturing facilities, and given handouts to the biggest multinational corporations.
Under #NotAnotherNAFTA, Brown is leading the opposition to fast track and TPP in the Senate and demanding trade policy that puts American jobs first. Additionally, Brown has introduced a package of legislative proposals to support American manufacturing.
Last month, Brown voted against giving the Administration fast track authority during a U.S. Senate Finance Committee markup. Brown filed a total of 88 amendments to the trade package in an effort to stand up for American workers, increase transparency, and improve trade enforcement. Brown’s Leveling the Playing Field Act, which would increase the ability of U.S. industries to fight back against unfair trade, was included in the bill. In addition to Leveling the Playing Field, Brown helped pass several amendments, including an amendment to crack down on currency manipulation and an amendment that would eliminate an exemption in current law that allows the U.S. to import certain products produced with forced or child labor. Brown also introduced critical amendments to the fast track bill. More information can be found here.