The only standard that should be used to govern U.S. leaders’ decision to pass free trade agreements (FTAs) with South Korea, Colombia and Panama is whether they are in the best interest of American workers and the U.S. economy, says Leo Hindery, Chairman of the Smart Globalization Initiative at the New America Foundation, in an op-ed published on The Huffington Post.
Hindery applauds U.S. workers for their dedicated opposition to the three seriously-flawed FTAs now making their way through Congress. “The number of American workers and friends of labor who, for all the right factual reasons, continue to stand against the three pending FTAs with South Korea, Panama and Colombia are legion. Many just aren’t as public as the likes of Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH); Tom Buffenbarger, President of the Machinists and Aerospace Workers Union; Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), and Leo Gerard, President of the Steelworkers Union, who’ve been leading the fights,” writes Hindery.
Hindery outlines the problems of each trade deal, including the huge trade imbalance between U.S. and Korean automobiles, Colombia’s extreme violence against union leaders and labor activists, and Panama’s historic role as an illegal tax haven for U.S. and foreign corporations.
“By far the biggest flaw common to each — and the most important — is the failure to focus on ‘net exports,’” says Hindery. “Sure, U.S. exports to each country will increase, albeit likely not nearly to the extent promised, but corresponding imports into the U.S. from these countries will in each case grow faster. Net exports will be negative, and thus on balance, even more American jobs will be lost overseas.”
“There are painful differences between balanced and fair FTAs and unfair FTAs,” writes Hindery.
The IAM maintains that passage of all three trade agreements will stifle American workers. Show your support for fair trade – not free trade by joining the IAM campaign on Facebook.