WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBSDFW.COM) – CBS 11 News traveled to the White House to interview President Barack Obama about the proposed major trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Supporters say it will increase wages and lead to more jobs. But critics say they don’t believe that will happen.
The President told CBS11 the deal would keep jobs here, raise wages and open new markets.
“The truth is this is going to be extraordinarily open,” says President Obama. “We don’t have an agreement yet, so it’s true what we haven’t laid out the actual agreement, this just gives us the authority to negotiate.”
President Obama says the trade deal being negotiated would put new standards in place that would help protect workers and the environment. And the President says it would help North Texas companies like Ennis-based Polyguard Products. The CEO there supports the deal.
“These things have expanded the economy in the past,” says John Muncaster. “If we don’t join the world league and play in it – and then we’ll have to go back down to the minor league.”
The company employs around 120 people and exports to more than 30 countries. Muncaster says the Trans-Pacific Partnership would open even more markets for them, allowing them to hire more workers.
Critics say the deal is being brokered behind closed doors and nobody knows exactly what’s in it. And after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) some are leery and expect more jobs to head overseas.
Mark York is the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Dallas AFL-CIO.
“The American worker was sold a bill of goods with NAFTA, where it was supposed to raise wages across the Globe and be good for American jobs. Well, that simply didn’t happen. We know that,” says York.
“People feel burned over the last 20-30 years when they’ve seen outsourcing take place,” says President Obama. “They’ve seen wages flat even as corporate profits go up. What I’ve said to folks is we can’t prevent globalization, we can’t stop from trading with the rest of the world, we do have to get in there and make sure it’s a fair deal for American workers and American businesses, and if we do, Texas is going to benefit and all of us are going to benefit.”
President Obama says once an agreement is negotiated, he’ll put it on a website for everyone to see for 60 days before he signs it. That is if he gets trade promotion authority from Congress, which is no sure bet.
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