Jennifer Granholm on Free Trade
Democratic Governor (MI)
"NAFTA and CAFTA [Central America Free Trade Agreement] have given us the Shafta!" I shouted, and the crowd of workers roared in response, as if ready to tear the heads off of those who had made a profit by outsourcing jobs. I waited for them to settle down and for my own angry heart to slow.
"You've heard of 'No Child Left Behind'?" I asked. "Well, how about No WORKER Left Behind?!"
In my terms as governor, I made 12 international trips to recruit businesses: our state attracted 48 companies and $2 billion in investment, with more than 20,000 jobs generated. It was surprisingly easy to get midsized companies in other countries to invest in Michigan. These companies were interested in the American market, but many lacked the multinational global staff to help guide them through the process. Because of their smaller size, relationships were important. My message to them: Let Michigan be your gateway to the US--we'll help you.
"It's a valiant effort," the spokesman said. "But we've got to cut costs, and we can pay $1.57 an hour in Juarez. There's nothing you can do to make up for that."
Greenville's Mayor proclaimed, "NAFTA is just killing the industrial strength of this country."
I said, "We are the fallout of these unenforced trade agreements. The average guy is left without a job, maybe without a pension, and as a final insult he trains his foreign replacement before he hands in his ID badge. And there's nothing we can do about it. Nothing. This isn't about tax policy. It's not about regulations. It's about whether we are going to make things in America."
States' commitments under CAFTA:
Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC) compiled a list of the status of each of the 50 states with regards to CAFTA procurement. For states that have rescinded their commitment, we infer that the incumbent governor strongly opposes CAFTA (because the state made a commitment and then un-made it). For states that declined to commit, we infer that the incumbent governor somewhat opposes CAFTA. For states that committed, we infer that the incumbent governor supports CAFTA.
CAFTA is the Central American Free Trade Agreement. CAFTA expands NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement, between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico) to five Central American nations (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua), and the Dominican Republic. It passed Congress on July 27, 2005.
Opposition to CAFTA procurement rules (by Public Citizen): Should an international trade agreement determine how we are allowed to spend our domestic tax dollars? Prior to the passage of CAFTA, the majority of state governments agreed: Subjecting decisions about how to spend state taxpayer dollars to second-guessing by foreign trade tribunals is a bad idea! As a result, a bi-partisan group of governors withdrew their initial agreement to bind their states to comply with CAFTA's procurement rules. Many other governors simply avoided binding their states to CAFTA's procurement rules in the first place. Common state economic development and environmental policies are prohibited by trade agreement procurement rules include:
The nation's governors urge Congress to move forward to reauthorize and modernize the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program before it expires on September 30, 2007. Governors recognize that although expanded trade and innovation can have widespread benefits, they can also have a disproportionately heavy impact on certain communities and workers. While the creation of new jobs is underway in many parts of the country, not every U.S. worker that may have lost his or her job due to trade will be able to find employment comparable to their prior position, notably because many hold training and skills for jobs that no longer exist. Governors, therefore, support proposals to improve the TAA program as a means to address this problem, and especially proposals that are designed to give workers more control and flexibility over their TAA training and to streamline the program's bureaucracy.
The economic strength and competitiveness of the nation will only be as strong as the combined economic strength and competitiveness of the states, and the firms and workers within them. Because today's jobs require more and more workers to have advanced training and education, Governors firmly support efforts that seek to ensure that their citizens will have the skills they need to compete in today's changing economy and that give states the tools they need to provide those opportunities.
We look forward to working with Congress as it proceeds towards reauthorization of the TAA program, as it is an important component of the nation's strategy to advance a comprehensive, integrated, and flexible workforce system. If passing such a reauthorization becomes impossible prior to the program's expiration in September, we ask that any temporary program extension include clear "hold harmless" language that ensures that the states will be fully reimbursed by the federal government for any benefit payments or other TAA costs they may incur during any extension period.
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