Dear President Obama:
New York State is home to the best workers and some of the most innovative companies in the world. As bipartisan Congressional Representatives of the people and businesses of New York, we write to express our firm opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) as negotiated.
Like many Americans, New Yorkers have grown increasingly disillusioned with our nation's international trading relationships and are rightly skeptical that the TPP will fare better than previous trade agreements. In the months since the TPP's text was released to the public, we have made a careful review of its wide-ranging provisions. Our concerns with the TPP are as varied as the people and districts we represent, but there are a number of core issues with the agreement that we all share.
Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements took effect in 1994, our state has lost more than 370,000 manufacturing jobs. This is just a portion of the five million manufacturing jobs that have been lost nationwide over that period. While we recognize the difficulty in proving a causal connection between trade agreements and job losses, the federal government itself has certified more than 115,000 New York jobs under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program as having been lost to imports or off-shoring since NAFTA. TAA only covers a subset of jobs displaced due to trade, so this figure represents only a fraction of New York job losses directly attributable to trade agreements.
Glaringly, this TPP agreement has no effective measures to address currency manipulation. Currency manipulation is one of the greatest issues facing American manufacturers today and is estimated to have suppressed millions of U.S. jobs. Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore each have histories of artificially controlling their currencies, yet the TPP provides no enforceable protections against their doing so. The side declaration on currency practices is insignificant, unenforceable, and does little to assuage our concerns. The TPP is the United States' best chance to address currency manipulation in a systematic way, and the lack of meaningful currency provisions makes the TPP incomplete at best and destructive to domestic manufacturers at worst.
Given a level playing field, New York workers and businesses can compete and win in the global marketplace. While we each have our own concerns with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we are united in our opposition to the agreement and in our belief that the TPP will harm many working and middle-class families in New York and across the country.