As a member of the House Trade Working Group, I believe that trade can be a valuable tool to bolster our economy and strengthen our ties with foreign allies. However, we must utilize a trade model that benefits American workers. I strongly opposed the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership because they continue to rely on the NAFTA trade model that has proven disastrous for American workers.
We need a new trade model, one that benefits U.S. businesses and workers, protects the environment and global human rights, prevents the exploitation of foreign labor, and does not undermine the U.S. regulatory framework. I had serious concerns about proposed text for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. I worked with the Administration to promote an open negotiation process, and opposed efforts to "fast-track" the agreement without sufficient consideration for labor, consumer, senior, environmental and faith-based constituencies. This is a critical opportunity to put forward a new model of trade agreement, and I strongly believe that all stakeholders must have the opportunity to participate in the discussion.
We also need to address China’s currency misalignment – it is unfair and it harms American manufacturers and the U.S. economy. China's policy of undervaluing its currency by 30% or more makes Chinese-produced goods cheaper and foreign-manufactured products more expensive, acting as both a subsidy and a tariff. This illegal policy gives Chinese manufacturers an unfair advantage and contributes to the U.S.-China trade deficit. I am an original cosponsor and strong supporter of legislation to address illegal currency manipulation.
One of my trade priorities is to make sure that intellectual property protections for pharmaceutical companies don’t trump affordable access to life-saving medicines. We should not protect drug company profits if it means pricing life-saving medications out of reach of millions of children and adults, especially in developing nations. Countries must have the ability to protect the lives, health and well-being of their people through mechanisms designed to provide sustainable access to low priced, high quality essential medicines. I fought successfully during the Clinton Administration to win changes in trade policies to give countries those rights, and I will continue to do so.
More on Trade
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Access to Medicines Co-Lead on Speaker Pelosi’s 8-Member NAFTA Working Group, spoke on the U.S. House floor today prior to the final vote on the United States Mexico Canada Trade Agreement. Her full statement is below:
"M. Speaker, I rise in support of the United States Mexico Canada trade agreement.
“This is the first trade agreement I’m voting for in my twenty years plus in the United States Congress.