Washington, DC- U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released a statement following President Trump’s executive order to pull the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and his recent steps to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
“I support President Trump’s issuing of an executive orders that will pull the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and his recent steps to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA has adversely impacted middle class families in Pennsylvania and the TPP would have cost jobs and hurt income growth, which is why I voted against fast tracking the deal in 2015.
During the debate over TPP I met with workers in Braddock, Pennsylvania to hear about how these bad trade deals have impacted their lives. In Braddock, the population declined approximately 82% from 1960 through 2010, in part because of economic policies that rig the system against workers. The stories I heard from those workers are borne out by the facts: from 1993 through 2002, 525,094 workers were certified as displaced by trade by the Department of Labor and from 1993 through 2010 our trade deficit with Mexico increased by $66 billion. A 2014 study in the Review of Economics and Statistics by four economists concluded that “occupation switching due to trade led to real wage losses of 12 to 17 percentage points between 1984 and 2002.” Finally, 8 of 11 countries in the TPP have minimum wages lower than the U.S. and 7 having minimum wages below $3/hour, it would be unfair to force Pennsylvania workers to compete for those jobs. Our workers deserve a fair shot instead of an uneven playing field.
Any renegotiation of NAFTA must include strong enforceable environmental and labor standards; when businesses can exploit workers in Mexico, it is not only an affront to their rights, but places U.S. workers at a significant disadvantage. When it comes to free trade deals, Pennsylvania often gets the short end of the economic stick and It’s time for that to change. I call on Congressional Republicans, who have supported these agreements over many years, to work with President Trump and those of us who have long opposed these bad trade deals in order to finally level the playing field for our workers.”