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Trade agreement would be bad for America [Letter]

Beware when President Obama and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell talk about bipartisan cooperation. What they are talking about is passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

This agreement has been negotiated behind closed doors in secrecy with no input from the public or our representatives in Congress. Some of the agreement's details have been leaked to the media, and it is not a good deal for working Americans and the sovereignty of our nation.

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The proposed TPP would unite 12 Pacific nations in adopting new trade rules that will promote the profits of transnational corporations and international financiers. This agreement undermines our sovereignty by preventing national, state or local governments from enforcing their own laws, rules and standards. For example, if an environmental, health and safety law or labor standard interferes with the profits of a given corporation, the corporation can sue the government for lost profits. In other words, the sovereignty of the corporation trumps the sovereignty of the United States, state or local community.

In addition,Obama and McConnell will pursue fast-track authority to get the trade agreement through Congress. What fast-track authority means for the President is that the trade agreement is introduced to Congress and there is little or no debate or amendments to the agreement, just an up or down vote. In other words, an abdication of congressional responsibility under the Constitution.

These agreements (NAFTA, CAFTA, WTO, etc.) have cost Americans millions of manufacturing jobs that have been outsourced to foreign countries. The so-called economic recovery created millions of low-wage service jobs while high paying manufacturing jobs were outsourced overseas. The result has been stagnant wages for most of us and little economic relief except for the top 1 percent. It has also resulted in an out-of-control trade deficit.

The TPP will result in millions more American manufacturing jobs being shipped to countries like Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia, Peru, etc. Our trade deficit will continue to explode since the residents of Third World nations can't afford the goods produced in the United States. The average wage in Vietnam is 56 cents an hour.

I believe this is an issue where both progressives and conservatives can come together to oppose this undemocratic and unAmerican trade agreement. It's time to reign in the excessive power that fast track authority gives the President. It's a call to all Americans to defend good paying American jobs and national sovereignty.

David J. Iacono

Westminster

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