Monday, July 20, 2015
  The real fight against the Trans Pacific Partnership began on June 24th with the passage of Fast Track, or Trade Promotion Authority, during it's final vote in the Senate. With negotiating rounds scheduled for July 28-31 in Hawaii, the Obama administration hopes to be able to present the agreement to Congress as early as this fall.
  There are a few barriers that are a cause of concern to the representatives of the 12 nations who are participants, most importantly Malaysia's tier 3 Human Trafficking ranking. Malaysia has long been one of the worst offenders for Human Trafficking and has well earned it's Tier 3 ranking.  A sudden move to upgrade Malaysia to a Tier 2 status is a red flag for the administration's intentions. Congress would have to upgrade Malaysia's ranking to a tier 2 in order for them to be able to participate in the agreement. Last week , a Dear Colleague letter made it's rounds in Congress and at closing, had 152 signatures asking Secretary of State John Kerry not to upgrade Malaysia's ranking.
  Other issues that will have to be dealt with during negotiations include access to Canada's dairy and poultry markets. The U.S. is looking for agriculture concessions from Canada that didn't happen with NAFTA and that were slated to be addressed with the TPP.  Canada is balking at what it feels is a threat to it's sovereignty and in no uncertain terms, claims it will "back out of the TPP" if the issues cannot be resolved.
 Intellectual property rights are also a hot button issue that will require a resolution in this round before negotiations can be considered a success.  This includes copyright laws, Internet freedom, and web-based publishing.  Some are concerned that the TPP will give "Global governments surveillance power" over all internet activity.
  Even though the public has seen only the leaked chapters of this agreement, we know that our food, medicine, jobs, the environment, access to quality products, and our future are at stake.
  If we don't take a stand with the Trans Pacific Partnership, it will set the tone for U.S. Trade Policy for the foreseeable future.  

Monday, March 9, 2015

Minnesota's 2014 trade deficit grew by nearly $1 billion.

In 2014, Minnesota's trade deficit soard to over $13 billion dollars. That's nearly a $1 billion dollar increase from 2013. While export growth was 2.9%, the growth imports was 4.7% for a total of $21.4 billion in exports, and $34.6 billion in imports. The trade deficit represents money that could be going  into the Minnesota economy, providing for good paying jobs and locally produced goods, but instead is going to low-wage countries like China, which accounts for an $8 billion deficit alone. Despite these sobering facts, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is actively touting so-called "free trade agreements," including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as benefitting Minnesota. Touting export numbers only is like saying our baseball team scored 5 runs, but not saying what the other  team scored. The fact is that we're losing the game pretty bad! You can get more information on imports to Minnesota here. And info on exports from Minnesota here.  

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Mapping Dislocated Workers in Minnesota

In the last year there were 40 new certifications of workplaces where workers were dislocated due to trade policies, either outsourcing or closure due to cheaper imports. Among them were Medtronic's animal research facility moving to China, ING Life insurance shifting work to the Philippines, and IBM moving supply chain workers to Mexico. Click the icons on the map to see details the Trade Adjustment Assistance claims in Minnesota over the last 5 years. Unfortunately, because displaced workers have to actively file a petition for TAA or have one filed on their behalf, this represents only a small fraction of the jobs and workers that are being dislocated. We'll be updating this map as new claims become available.
View Mapping Dislocated Workers in Minnesota in a full screen map

Friday, September 26, 2014

Last year MNFTC lobbied the legislature to revive the Trade Policy Advisory Council with community support. This year the council has met twice, and has decided to survey Minnesotans about how free trade is affecting them. The survey is now online at the link is above and here: 


This survey is being sent to businesses, unions, nonprofits and the public. We must make sure that the voice for fair trade is the dominant voice in the survey results! The deadline for filling it out is October 9, but don't just fill it out, please also do the following:

1. Email this link to your friends with the following note: "Free Trade Agreements like NAFTA have sent good paying jobs overseas, wreaked havoc on our environment and destroyed our communities. The State of Minnesota, Trade Policy Advisory Council is conducting a survey to find out Minnesotans' views on free trade agreements. Please take a minute and tell them that free trade doesn't work and we need a new model!"

2. Post the link to the survey on Social Media

3. Put this on the agenda of any union meetings, organization meetings, or any other event you'll be at! 
Once the results have been collected the Trade Policy Advisory Council will hold a public hearing, likely in November, which we will be working hard to organize turnout for. Stay tuned for ways to get involved on the local level to fight for Fair Trade!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Border Crisis, Steel Dumping and More!

On the seventh Episode of the podcast, Amy Shannon from the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities talks about the intersection of trade policy and immigration, and how it relates to the current refugee crisis, and Bob Ryan of the United Steelworkers talks about the recent Department of Commerce decision regarding Korean steel dumping.