Donovan, Colleagues Voice Opposition to TPP Trade Deal
Washington, DC—March 24, 2016....Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) and 16 other New York Members of Congress today sent a letter to President Obama expressing their opposition to the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. The letter outlines their concerns about job losses caused by previous free-trade agreements as well as the proposed deal’s failure to address currency manipulation.
Congressman Donovan said, “My criteria in deciding whether to support this deal is simple: will it cost Staten Island and South Brooklyn workers their jobs? The answer is yes. I cannot support a proposal that puts more blue collar jobs on the chopping block.”
The letter explains that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) resulted in 370,000 manufacturing job losses in New York State alone. Donovan and other TPP opponents argued that blue collar workers cannot absorb another devastating hit, especially when middle class Americans are struggling to pay their mortgages and save for their children’s college education.
Further, the letter slams the TPP agreement for failing to include any effective measures to address currency manipulation. Asian countries have a documented history of devaluing their currencies. Such practices make American labor comparatively more expensive, causing job losses here at home. Donovan and his colleagues write that the TPP is the best opportunity to institute enforceable controls on currency manipulation, and the “lack of meaningful currency provisions makes the TPP incomplete at best and destructive to domestic manufacturers at worst.”
Donovan has consistently opposed the TPP trade deal. Last year, he voted against granting President Obama “fast-track authority,” which allows the President to propose the deal to Congress without any opportunity for amendment or alternation. The deal may come up for a vote in Congress before the end of the year.
Full text of the letter:
March 23, 2016
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Obama:
New York State is home to the best workers and some of the most innovative companies in the world. As bipartisan Congressional Representatives of the people and businesses of New York, we write to express our firm opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as negotiated.
Like many Americans, New Yorkers have grown increasingly disillusioned with our nation’s international trading relationships and are rightly skeptical that the TPP will fare better than previous trade agreements. In the months since the TPP’s text was released to the public, we have made a careful review of its wide-ranging provisions. Our concerns with the TPP are as varied as the people and districts we represent, but there are a number of core issues with the agreement that we all share.
Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements took effect in 1994, our state has lost more than 370,000 manufacturing jobs. This is just a portion of the five million manufacturing jobs that have been lost nationwide over that period. While we recognize the difficulty in proving a causal connection between trade agreements and job losses, the federal government itself has certified more than 115,000 New York jobs under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program as having been lost to imports or off-shoring since NAFTA. TAA only covers a subset of jobs displaced due to trade, so this figure represents only a fraction of New York job losses directly attributable to trade agreements.
Glaringly, this TPP agreement has no effective measures to address currency manipulation. Currency manipulation is one of the greatest issues facing American manufacturers today and is estimated to have suppressed millions of U.S. jobs. Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore each have histories of artificially controlling their currencies, yet the TPP provides no enforceable protections against their doing so. The side declaration on currency practices is insignificant, unenforceable, and does little to assuage our concerns. The TPP is the United States’ best chance to address currency manipulation in a systematic way, and the lack of meaningful currency provisions makes the TPP incomplete at best and destructive to domestic manufacturers at worst.
Given a level playing field, New York workers and businesses can compete and win in the global marketplace. While we each have our own concerns with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we are united in our opposition to the agreement and in our belief that the TPP will harm many working and middle-class families in New York and across the country.
Chris Collins, Member of Congress
Louise M. Slaughter, Member of Congress
Yvette D. Clarke, Member of Congress
Daniel M. Donovan, Jr., Member of Congress
Eliot L. Engel, Member of Congress
Christopher Gibson, Member of Congress
Brian Higgins, Member of Congress
Hakeem Jeffries, Member of Congress
John Katko, Member of Congress
Nita M. Lowey, Member of Congress
Carolyn Maloney, Member of Congress
Sean Patrick Maloney, Member of Congress
Grace Meng, Member of Congress
Jerrold Nadler, Member of Congress
Tom Reed, Member of Congress
José E. Serrano, Member of Congress
Paul Tonko, Member of Congress
Nydia Velázquez, Member of Congress
Lee Zeldin, Member of Congress