Don Young, Congressman for all Alaska.  News for Immediate Release.  Contact the Press Secretary at (202) 225-2765 for additional information.
September 25, 1998

Authority doesn't protect American jobs or trade

Washington, D.C. -Alaska Congressman Don Young voted against H.R 2621, the Reciprocal Trade Agreement Authorities Act. H.R. 2621 renews the president's authority to negotiate and implement international trade agreements through an expedited procedure called "fast-track." The legislation failed by a vote of 180-243.

"I remain very concerned about "free" trade deals which give other countries a free ride. American jobs have not just crossed the street or state lines to take advantage of free trade. In fact, many businesses have crossed international lines because other countries allow lower wages and environmental standards than the U.S. I voted against NAFTA because free trade is truly not free to those working. Previous trade deals negotiated under fast track are not working for the American people, but are working against them," said Rep. Young.

Since NAFTA was implemented, the U.S. trade deficit with Canada and Mexico has more than quadrupled, costing American workers an estimated 420,000 jobs. "The impact of the administration's trade policies has been to slow the economy. These new imports and the trade deficit place a drag on the economy, more than canceling the economic growth generated from exports."

The Constitution vests the power to regulate trade with foreign countries explicitly with Congress in recognition of the impact that trade agreements can have on the domestic economy. Fast-track transfers much of this responsibility to the president. "I have serious concerns about the power fast-track authority bestows upon the Executive Branch. I cannot support a trade authority package which allows this president to negotiate on an all or nothing basis without the legislative opportunity to modify terms of an international trade agreement."

Fast-track was employed during the negotiation and implementation of the two multilateral agreements under GATT, and in three free trade agreements, including NAFTA (P.L. 103-182) in 1993. Following the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations, fast-track authority officially expired on April 15, 1994.

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Contact: Amy Inaba
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