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UNITED STATES-PANAMA TRADE PROMOTION AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACT
(Extensions of Remarks - October 13, 2011)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1845-E1846]
   UNITED STATES-PANAMA TRADE PROMOTION AGREEMENT IMPLEMENTATION ACT

                                 ______
                                 

                               speech of

                        HON. DENNIS J. KUCINICH

                                of ohio

                    in the house of representatives

                       Tuesday, October 11, 2011

  Mr. KUCINICH. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to H.R. 
3079, the United States-Panama Trade Implementation Act.


                  opposing NAFTA-style trade policies

  With all the talk this Congress about addressing the deficit, you 
might think that Democrat and Republican supporters of these agreements 
would be even more concerned about a larger deficit that is responsible 
for the displacement of thousands of American jobs--the trade deficit.
  Our rapidly increasing trade deficits with countries like China and 
Mexico have displaced millions of jobs over the past decade. According 
to Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the U.S.-China Free Trade Agreement 
resulted in the displacement of over 2.3 million American workers 
between 2001 and 2007, as a direct result of the increase in China 
trade deficits. U.S. producers of apparel, steel and technology (parts) 
have been the industries most significantly impacted by imports from 
China. Two-thirds of those jobs displaced were in the manufacturing 
sector--resulting in the outsourcing of hundreds of thousands of 
American jobs in the computer and electronic parts, apparel and 
accessories and fabricated metal production sectors.
  It is these same industries that will be further affected by the 
proposed trade deals with Korea, Panama and Colombia.
  Yet today we are considering NAFTA-style free trade agreements that 
are projected to continue in this tradition. Those of us who were in 
Congress during the debates on NAFTA and CAFTA have heard the promises 
of more jobs and economic opportunity from supporters of free trade. 
These promises have never materialized.
  NAFTA's record is clear: it is negative for jobs, negative for 
democracy and negative for the environment.


 Panama Free Trade Agreement: Good for Multinational Corporations, Bad 
                          for the Rule of Law

  Madam Speaker, the Panama trade agreement is good for multinational 
corporations and bad for the rule of law.
  An April 2009 report by Public Citizen on the Panama trade agreement 
found that it would undermine U.S. efforts to stop offshore tax-haven 
abuse and undermine financial regulations.
  Among the key findings: some of the corporations who were the largest 
recipients of U.S. federal procurement contracts and money under the 
Troubled Asset Relief Program--including Citigroup--have dozens of 
subsidiaries in Panama that would be granted expansive new rights under 
this trade agreement. So firms that were bailed out with U.S. taxpayer 
dollars, like AIG and Citigroup, are being rewarded with a trade 
agreement that undermines U.S. efforts to stop offshore tax-haven 
abuse.
  As Public Citizen notes, ``Panama's tiny economy provides no 
prospects for significant U.S. economic gains. Panama's total annual 
GDP is about 6 percent of Washington, D.C.'' Like NAFTA, this trade 
agreement includes provisions that allow investors to challenge the 
U.S. government in international courts--and demand U.S. taxpayer 
compensation--for U.S. policies that conflict with their expansive 
rights under the FTA to ``free transfers'' (i.e.: conflict with their 
bottom line).
  At a time when we should be focusing on strengthening worker's rights 
and investing in domestic manufacturing and infrastructure and job 
creation, a trade deal with Panama that is unlikely to have any 
significant effect at all on creating jobs or increasing imports is the 
wrong way to go.
  It is abundantly clear that this trade agreement is not about 
expanding opportunity for the American worker, but about expanding 
opportunity for multinational corporations and their subsidiaries. Just 
like NAFTA.


  Rewarding Panama for its Failure to Abide by International Tax Norms

  With the Panama trade agreement, we are rewarding a country for 
failing to abide by even the minimum transparency standards for tax 
norms. An April 2009 tax-haven watch list by the Organization of 
Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) cites Panama as one of 
thirty countries that agreed to conform to international tax norms but 
failed to do so. The OECD reports that Panama made such a commitment in 
2002 and has not since completed a single agreement to fulfill its 
commitment.
  According to Public Citizen, Panama is ``one of only 13 countries--
and the only current or prospective FTA partner--that is listed on all 
of the major tax-haven watchdog lists that does not also have U.S. tax 
transparency treaties.''
  If you're still not convinced to vote against the Panama trade 
agreement, this laundry list from Public Citizen may help: The Panama 
trade agreement ``includes extreme foreign investor privileges, and 
offshoring protections and their private enforcement in international 
tribunals, limits on financial and other service sector regulation, a 
ban on Buy America procurement preferences, limits on environmental 
safeguards and imported food and product safety, and drug patent rules 
that limit generics.''
  The AFL-CIO correctly notes that with this agreement, we are 
rewarding ``a country that has a history of repressing labor rights and 
has achieved much of its economic growth by making it easy for money 
launderers and tax dodgers to hide their income from legitimate 
authorities.''
  I urge my colleagues to join me in opposing the Panama free trade 
agreement.


                         Labor Rights in Panama

  The rights of workers, which have increasingly come under attack in 
this country, are

[[Page E1846]]

also at risk under these NAFTA-style trade agreements.
  In Panama, a 2010 State Department Human Rights report notes that 
``the government lacked sufficient mechanisms to ensure that laws 
prohibiting employer interference in unions and protecting workers from 
employer reprisals were adequately enforced.''
  We should not be entering into a trade agreement with a country that 
has yet to demonstrate its ability to uphold international standards 
for labor rights and financial regulation. We cannot afford to reward 
corporations for offshoring jobs and tax-evasion at a time of historic 
budget constraints.
  Panama's track record on fulfilling its promises is clear: just as it 
failed to adequately address its status as a tax-haven wonderland; it 
too has failed in its promise to adequately protect its workers from 
reprisals due to union activity.


                         Jobs loss under NAFTA

  It is undisputable that NAFTA has led to widespread job loss across 
this country. In a report titled ``Heading South: U.S.-Mexico trade and 
job displacement after NAFTA,'' EPI estimates that the U.S. trade 
deficit with Mexico totaling $97.2 billion has displaced nearly 700,000 
U.S. jobs. This number takes into account any jobs that were created 
through U.S. exports to Mexico. Like NAFTA, the Korea and Colombia FTAs 
are expected to result in the loss of over 200,000 jobs and increase 
our trade deficit by $16.9 billion.
  The majority of those jobs were in the manufacturing sector. Like 
Korea, much of our trade with Mexico is in the same industries that 
took a big hit under NAFTA.
  We cannot have a strong economy without a strong manufacturing base. 
Any investments this Congress makes to rebuild our infrastructure and 
our domestic manufacturing sector would be significantly undermined by 
the passage of the three free trade agreements we are considering 
today. NAFTA-style free trade agreements that rapidly increase our 
trade deficit and lead to the further diminishment of our manufacturing 
employment base are not the answer.


      ``White-Collar Service Jobs'' Vulnerable to being Offshored

  NAFTA-style trade policies are not just destructive to our domestic 
manufacturing and textile sectors. So called ``White-Collar'' service 
jobs are now some of the jobs most vulnerable to offshoring.
  Alan S. Binder, a former Clinton advisor and member of the Board of 
Governors of the Federal Reserve--and supporter of free trade--came up 
with a list of the top 100 jobs that are most likely to be offshored 
over the next 10-20 years as a result of our free trade policies. Those 
jobs include computer programmers, mathematicians, editors, actuaries 
and even economists. A 2007 paper by the Economic Policy Institute took 
the research one step further and found that the demographic most 
vulnerable to offshoring are persons with at least a four-year college 
degree.
  Since the era of the WTO and NAFTA, U.S. wages have been stagnant and 
barely increased since 1973. Workers in the manufacturing sector 
displaced by our trade policies and looking for new work will be forced 
to go into service fields with even lower wages where jobs are not 
threatened to be offshored, such as in food service and hospitality.
  Our $776 billion trade deficit has already displaced hundreds of 
thousands of American workers. It is time to end expansion of NAFTA to 
other countries. We have over a decade of evidence and the evidence is 
clear: this free trade model is damaging for our economy, our workers, 
the environment and for global economic security. It is time for fair 
trade, not free trade.

                          ____________________




    

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