The Jan. 23 editorial “A role in Asia” suggested that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would “support U.S. jobs” and help the United States counter China’s expansion. Twenty years of data have proved false these economic and foreign policy promises.
The template for the TPP was the 2011 free trade agreement between the United States and South Korea, which itself was based on the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement. The TPP includes an even more expansive version of foreign investor privileges that promote offshoring to where labor is cheap. The United States has lost 5 million manufacturing jobs since NAFTA. The South Korea deal created a trade deficit that equates to 60,000 more lost jobs. Sixty percent of manufacturing workers who lose jobs to trade and find reemployment take pay cuts.
Every time the economic case for a trade deal fails, the argument becomes foreign policy. China’s rising power is a real issue. Over the past 35 years, we have strengthened economic ties to Asian nations, but these have not slowed the expansion of Chinese influence in the region. Simply opening markets with trading partners has not deterred them from building closer economic ties to China.
The TPP would further weaken our manufacturing base and financial stability with damaging economic and national security implications. The administration is following a policy that has failed U.S. workers in the past and has not strengthened foreign policy. We must look not to promises, hopes or theories but to experience. We cannot make the same mistakes again.
Rosa DeLauro, Washington
The writer, a Democrat, represents Connecticut’s 3rd District in the House.