International President Robert Martinez, Jr., of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), issued the following statement in response to the release of U.S. International Trade Commission’s (ITC) report on the impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the American economy:
“The ITC, which historically has overestimated the benefits of trade agreements, predicts that the TPP will increase our nation’s trade deficit in manufacturing. This means that the corporate driven, secretly negotiated TPP will lead to the export of good paying manufacturing jobs to countries like Vietnam that lack basic human rights. For ordinary Americans struggling to get by this will result in more unemployment and continued downward pressure on wages and benefits.
“That a trade agreement created to boost corporate profits and CEO bonuses at the expense of working families would be so flawed is no surprise. We now have confirmation from the ITC that weak rules of origin for autos and other manufactured goods will only continue the deterioration of U.S. manufacturing. It is important to note that the ITC made this finding without even taking into consideration that the TPP fails to deal with the rampant currency manipulation by our competitors in Asia. This market distorting trade practice leaves U.S. businesses and workers at a severe disadvantage and expedites the offshoring of American jobs.
“The IAM has repeatedly called for the inclusion in the TPP of the International Labor Organization Conventions, which explicitly define basic labor rights. Unfortunately, the TPP labor chapter contains the same ineffectual provisions as in other U.S. trade agreements and fails to provide effective mechanisms to deal with countries lacking fundamental labor rights, such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Mexico. That Malaysia, a country cited for human trafficking while focused on rapidly developing its aerospace industry, would be included in the TPP repudiates any notion that the agreement sets a new standard for international labor rights.
“While the ITC has found that the TPP might increase U.S. GDP by a meager 0.15 percent by 2032, this is of little solace to the working families that will be devastated by the agreement’s numerous flaws. The IAM strongly urges Congress to reject the TPP and focus on a trade policy that benefits America’s working families.”
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) is among the world’s largest and most diverse industrial trade unions, representing nearly 600,000 members in aerospace, manufacturing, transportation, shipbuilding, woodworking, electronics and the federal sector.