WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Chris Collins (NY-27) and Louise Slaughter (NY-25) today led a bipartisan letter from members of the New York Congressional delegation to President Obama opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Representatives Collins and Slaughter were joined on the letter by Representatives Clarke (NY-09), Donovan (NY-11), Engel (NY-16), Gibson (NY-19), Higgins (NY-26), Jeffries (NY-08), Katko (NY-24), Lowey (NY-17), Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), Meng (NY-06), Nadler (NY-10), Reed (NY-23), Serrano (NY-15), Tonko (NY-20), Velázquez (NY-07), and Zeldin (NY-01).
“Western New York bears the scars of poorly negotiated past free trade agreements; scars like lost jobs, shuttered factories, and a generation lost to economic opportunities that were outsourced to foreign competitors,” said Congressman Chris Collins. “I cannot support a trade agreement that once again threatens America’s working middle class, and fails to address several of the biggest challenges facing American manufacturers including currency manipulation and intellectual property protection. I want to thank Congresswoman Slaughter for her leadership on this issue and the rest of the New York delegation who joined us in signing this letter.”
“I have never seen a trade agreement that benefited the American manufacturer or American worker, and the TPP will just be more of the same. Rochester lost tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs under NAFTA, culminating in one of the highest poverty rates in America. We’re beginning to make progress when it comes to reigniting our manufacturing base in upstate New York. This bipartisan opposition to the TPP is making clear to the administration that another NAFTA-style agreement would be bad for New York and the country,” said Slaughter.
In the bipartisan letter signed by 19 Members of New York’s Congressional delegation, the lawmakers write: “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.”
The lawmakers also point out that “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.”
Additionally, “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.”
Full text of the letter can be read below:
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