A Better Deal for Americans
Last night, the House of Representatives considered legislation that authorizes free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. I voted against these bills out of concern for their impact on jobs here in the United States and, in particular, the manufacturing sector. I did support the trade adjustment assistance bill which will provide transitional support to those American workers that are displaced as a result of international trade.
Proponents of these trade agreements, some of the loudest being multi-national corporations, make the argument that free trade is always a net positive for jobs and the economy. Recent history paints a different picture. Job loss and wage stagnation in the United States are well demonstrated legacies of agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
I believe we need to press pause on these new trade agreements, which are similar to NAFTA in many ways, until we establish a trade framework that is good for the American worker; crack down on countries that game the system to their benefit; and develop a comprehensive strategy for our domestic manufacturing industry.
Congressman John P. Sarbanes
Maryland's Third Congressional District