Here is a letter from Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to a constituent who wrote asking him to oppose Fast Track trade authority.
March 6, 2015
Thank you for writing to express your concerns regarding Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation and the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement. I agree that Congress and the American people must have a strong voice in our trade policies.
In my view, the number one issue facing America is declining middle class incomes and any trade deal must be viewed through the lens of how it will impact middle class incomes for future generations. It is not enough that free trade agreements boost US corporate profits. Any trade agreement that does not also include the necessary tools to protect American middle class incomes and middle class jobs is a big problem for me.
Many middle class workers, especially in the manufacturing sector, have been hurt by unfair foreign competition in recent decades. Any trade deal must actively protect American workers and industry from competing with the unfair and unjust practices of some foreign countries and companies. Congress must ensure that any trade agreement include strong and enforceable intellectual property rights, labor rights, anti-currency manipulation provisions, and environmental standards. Congress must also ensure that our trade policy act to promote job growth in high-skilled, high-wage innovative sectors of our economy.
I have long supported policies to combat foreign trade cheaters and level-playing field for American businesses. I authored the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act, which would combat currency manipulation that gives foreign companies in China and elsewhere an unfair market advantage. Enforceable currency manipulation provisions are a must in any future trade agreement. This bill was recently reintroduced in the 114th Congress and I will continue to press for its passage this Congress.
I have also worked diligently to advocate for U.S. manufacturers coping with foreign trade cheaters. This past year, I urged federal trade enforcement agencies to conduct thorough investigations into allegations brought by U.S. manufactures of foreign companies’ predatory trade practices. From steel companies in Buffalo to paper producers in Glens Falls, New York manufactures are amongst the most competitive in the world. We must be vigilant in our efforts to protect our companies and their workers from anticompetitive foreign practices.
As you may know, texts of ongoing trade agreements, like the Trans Pacific Partnership, are classified during live negotiations. However, the United States Trade Representative does release summaries of policies discussed during negotiations. Congress and the American people must have a strong say in any legislation affecting our trade or regulatory policies. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, I will closely examine the impact that any trade legislation would have on New York businesses and families.
Again, thank you for contacting me on this important issue. Please feel free to contact me again if I can be of further assistance on this, or any other matter.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Sen