WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 - Saying U.S. trade policy has been "a disaster" for American workers, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said today he will vote against proposed trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia.
Sanders said that the agreements are a continuation of trade pacts like the North America Free Trade Agreement and normalized trade with China which resulted in the loss of millions of jobs in America and the loss of thousands of factories in Vermont and across the country.
"Trade agreements like NAFTA and Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China have cost this country millions of good-paying jobs as companies shut down factories here and move to low-wage countries abroad," Sanders said in remarks prepared for a Senate floor speech.
"In the last 10 years alone we have lost 50,000 factories and it is harder and harder to buy products manufactured in the United States. These new trade agreements are nothing more than a continuation of a failed trade policy and should be rejected. Our demand must be that corporations reinvest in this country, create jobs here and not in China or other low-wage countries," he said.
Sanders cited figures that showed that over the last decade, U.S. multi-national corporations slashed 2.9 million American jobs, while creating 2.4 million jobs overseas.
Congress should send a message to multi-national corporations that "they cannot keep sending America's future overseas" and that they may no longer sell out the American middle class.
"In the United States today, real unemployment is 16 percent, the middle class is collapsing and poverty is increasing," Sanders added. "One of the reasons is that we now have far fewer decent-paying manufacturing jobs than we used to. We need trade policies that protect the interests of American workers, and not just the CEOs of large corporations."