Utah AFL-CIO opposes fast-track of TPP trade agreement

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch is among those in Congress seeking to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, although labor groups say it would allow companies to take more jobs offshore. Photo courtesy U.S. Congress.

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah AFL-CIO is opposing <a href=”http://www.finance.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/TPA%20bill%20text.pdf” target=”parent”>a bill in Congress</a> that could fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is among the sponsors of the “Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014,” which could expedite passage of the controversial TPP.

Utah AFL-CIO president Dale Cox said the trade agreement would lead to more off-shoring of U.S. manufacturing jobs as companies take advantage of lower wages in other nations.

“It’s another way to either erode the wage and benefit package here in our nation that the middle class has fought for, or offshore the jobs,” Cox said. “Those are the options.”

The Trans-Pacific Partnership includes Canada, Mexico, Japan and several other nations. Hatch said the deal would “help American businesses, workers, farmers and ranchers by giving them greater access to overseas markets.”

Very few people know what’s in the TPP, Cox said, because the negotiations are carried out in relative secrecy. He said the North American Free Trade Agreement and other big trade deals already have caused a major downsizing of U.S. manufacturing jobs.

“Just about any industry you want to look at has been negatively affected by these trade agreements,” he said, “because there aren’t enough protections for our workers and our corporations.”

The Trans-Pacific Partnership has yet to be finalized, but is in the latter stages of negotiation.

The full text of the bill, which is more than 100 pages long, is online at <a href=”http://www.finance.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/TPA%20bill%20text.pdf” target=”parent”>finance.senate.gov</a>.

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