Impact of Free Trade Policy in Washington State

What is Free Trade?

For the last twenty years, “free” trade — an ideology that focuses on maximizing trade, minimizing regulations, and strengthening protections for investors — has wreaked havoc on people and the planet. Learn more about impacts of recent “free” trade agreements.

South Korea FTA
Panama FTA
Colombia
NAFTA
Andean Trade Preference

Free Trade Facts

The Impact Of Free Trade Policy In Washington State

Jobs Lost due to the Rising Trade Deficit With Mexico

Current Free Trade policy has proven to be a losing battle for workers, farmers, and communities in WA State and around the world.

Why Should I Care?

  • Mexican farmers unable to compete with cheaper American
    corn lose their land and migrate to cities to find work in maquilladoras
    (sweatshops) or to the US and WA State as farm workers
  • 65,193 workers were certified under Trade Adjustment Assistance
    1994-2011 as directly losing their job because of US trade policy (US DoL statistics).
    positions associated with these jobs such as drivers, suppliers and
    small businesses do not qualify and are not counted.
  • Mexican farmers unable to compete with cheaper American
    corn lose their land and migrate to cities to find work in maquilladoras (sweatshops) or to the US and WA State as farm workers

Korea FTA

Passed in 2011, The Korea FTA – yet another NAFTA-style deal – is the largest free trade agreement since NAFTA itself.  The U.S. International Trade Commission predicts it will increase the already-massive U.S. trade deficit. Now that it has passed, we should expect to see job losses in the NW’s high-tech and green-tech sectors, among many others, as production shifts overseas.

Panama FTA

Passed – 2011. Remember the financial crisis and how much of the problem was caused by the secret dealings of big banks – operating behind closed doors with no regulatory scrutiny?  So why in the world would the US want to sign a free trade deal with Panama, one of the most notorious money-laundering, tax-haven promoting, bank-account-offshoring centers on the planet?

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA): 1994

  • Negotiated to open trade between the Canada, the United States and Mexico
  • WA State lost 28,309 manufacturing jobs from 1994-2011, 9.4% of the sector (Bureau of Labor statistics)
  • 65,193 workers were certified under Trade Adjustment Assistance 1994-2011 as directly losing their job because of US trade policy. (US DoL statistics)  Jobs associated with these jobs such as drivers, suppliers, small businesses do not qualify and so are not counted.
  • 10,800 jobs have been lost in WA because of the rising trade deficit with Mexico (Economic Policy Institute)
  • Agricultural trade surpluses in wheat, dairy and fruits decline and turn into trade deficits
  • Mexican farmers unable to compete with cheaper American corn lose their land and migrate to cities to find work in maquilladoras (sweatshops) or to the US and WA State as farm workers

Andean Trade Preference Act: Enacted in 1991, amended in 2002

  • The United States agreed to subsidize asparagus as a substitution crop for Coca in the Andes
  • The United States lowered importation tariffs, which encouraged Washington State asparagus businesses like Green Giant and Del Monte to leave the state and set up factory farms in the Andes
  • Washington lost more than half of its asparagus industry, and the jobs on factory farms in Peru do not respect to human rights, fair work practices or the environment
  • Cheap asparagus is shipped back to Washington State to compete with more expensive asparagus grown closer to home

Colombia, Panama, S. Korea Free Trade Agreements, 2011

  • At least 60,000 jobs are at risk in WA State in motor vehicles and parts, other transportation equipment, electronic equipment, metal products and textiles and apparel
  • IT and Green jobs sector are also at risk for outsourcing and pitting foreign and domestic workers against each other for less secure contracting jobs.

Current Free Trade policy has proven to be a losing battle for workers, farmers, and communities in WA State and around the world.

Stay in the know!