Saturday, March 21, 2015

Hoffa Statement on USTR Trade Deficit Claims

The following is the official statement from Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa in response to United States Trade Representative Michael Froman’s claims that the U.S. has a trade surplus with its free trade agreement partners, contradicting U.S. International Trade Commission data showing a large trade deficit.

“The U.S. Trade Representative has made recent statements claiming that the U.S. has a trade surplus with its free trade agreement partners. The problem is this simply is not true.

“We see firsthand the devastating impact that free trade agreements, like the South Korea trade deal, have on American workers and our economy. The South Korea agreement had its third anniversary recently, but this was little cause for celebration. This trade deal resulted in the loss of 84,000 good U.S. jobs and caused the trade deficit to soar to 84 percent.

“Mr. Froman believes this agreement has been great for the U.S. auto industry. In reality, the vehicle trade deficit with South Korea has grown by 43 percent under the agreement, which resulted in a $21.1 billion automotive trade deficit with South Korea last year. This means lost jobs and wages for American workers.

“What’s even scarier is the South Korea trade agreement is the template for the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“Americans oppose fast-track trade promotion authority to pass the TPP, which threatens jobs, wages, food safety and environmental protections. It’s important for our elected leaders to keep the impact of the trade deficit in mind when considering agreements like the TPP and its impact on workers.”

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