Fast-tracked international trade deals have led to exploding U.S. trade deficits, soaring food imports into the U.S., increased off-shoring of American jobs, and an “unprecedented rise in income inequality,” according to new data released Thursday by the watchdog group Public Citizen.
The report, “Prosperity Undermined” (pdf), compiles and analyzes 20 years of trade and economic data to show that the arguments again being made in favor of providing the Obama administration with Fast Track trade authority—effectively handing over extensive new executive powers and delegating away core congressional constitutional authorities—have repeatedly proved false.
As an example, Public Citizen points to the damaging consequences of a 2011 trade deal with Korea, which expanded on the NAFTA model:
President Barack Obama is expected to push Fast Track for the corporate-friendly Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which has been negotiated largely in secret—with significant input from Wall Street and big business interests. Even in the face of evidence that prior trade deals are not working, Public Citizen says, Obama has “doubled down on the old model with TPP.”
“It’s not surprising that Democrats and Republicans alike are speaking out against Fast Track because it cuts Congress out of shaping trade pacts that most Americans believe cost jobs while empowering the president to sign and enter into secret deals before Congress approves them,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “In their speeches and commentary, the administration, corporate interests and GOP leadership disregard the real, detrimental impacts that previous fast tracked trade deals—which serve as the model for the Trans-Pacific Partnership—have had on America’s middle class over the past 20 years.”
President Obama is likely to use next week’s State of the Union address to push for TPP passage and Fast Track authority, Dave Johnson predicts in an op-ed published Thursday. Echoing many of Public Citizen’s criticisms of NAFTA and the Korea-U.S. trade deal, Johnson notes: “The reason our trade policies are working out this way is because the beneficiaries of this kind of trade deal are the ones controlling and negotiating these trade deals.”
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