Archive for January, 2014

Has NAFTA Benefited Americans?

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

By this question, I mean the American people, not America, our country, nor American corporations. There can be diplomatic benefits to trade agreements, such as strengthening our relationships with countries that are allies in the world’s political arena. There can be benefits to American-based global corporations to open doors to new markets in specific countries. These are two of the reasons touted by “free trade” proponents as benefits to negotiating trade agreements.

To discern the answer to the title’s question, let us examine whether the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has benefited Americans as a whole. NAFTA was negotiated under President Bill Clinton and went into effect in January 1994. The agreement was supposed to reduce market barriers to trade between the United States, Canada and Mexico to reduce the cost of goods, increase our surplus trade balance with Mexico, reduce our trade deficit with Canada, and create 170,000 jobs a year. Twenty years later, the fallacy of these supposed benefits is well documented.

According to the report “NAFTA at 20” released this month by Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, “More than 845,000 specific U.S. workers have been certified for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) as having lost their jobs due to imports from Canada and Mexico or the relocation of factories to those countries.”

Major corporations such as General Electric, Caterpillar, and Chrysler announced they would add jobs for increased sales to Mexico; instead they eliminated jobs. For example, General Electric testified before Congress saying, “We are looking at another $7.5 billion in potential sales over the next 10 years. These sales could support 10,000 jobs for General Electric and its suppliers. In reality, “General Electric has eliminated 4,936 U.S. jobs since NAFTA due to rising imports from Canada and Mexico or decisions to offshore production to those countries.”

The report also documents the fact that “the small pre-NAFTA U.S. trade surplus with Mexico turned into a massive new trade deficit and the pre-NAFTA U.S. trade deficit with Canada expanded greatly.” According to Census Bureau data, in 1993, the non-inflation adjusted U.S. trade surplus with Mexico was $1.6 billion, and in 2013, the U. S. trade deficit had grown to $50.1 billion. The non-inflation adjust U. S. deficit with Canada grew from $4.4 billion in 1994 to $7.4 billion in 2013. Together the Mexico and Canada inflation-adjusted trade deficits “have morphed into a combined NAFTA trade deficit of $181 billion.”

Most people do not understand how trade deficits hurt them. They do not realize that when our country imports more goods than it exports, we go in debt as a country to pay for these goods. We then have to borrow money or increase taxes to have enough money to run our government. This is why we now have a nearly $17 trillion national debt. As individuals, we would soon go bankrupt if we did not earn enough money to pay our bills and had to keep borrowing money, but the government can just keep printing money. The problem with printing more money is that the value of the dollar keeps going down, so each of us has to work harder to make more money to try to keep our pay equal to what we earned previously.

According to the Coalition for a Prosperous America, trade deficits also diminish the U. S. Gross Domestic Product since GDP equals the sum of Consumption, Investment, Government Procurement, and Net Exports (Exports – Imports). Our trade deficit in 2011 alone shaved an astounding 4% from overall U. S. GDP.

Our efforts to keep our earnings of equal value have not succeeded because the report states, “NAFTA has contributed to downward pressure on U.S. wages and growing income inequality.” What this means is that as Americans lost their higher paying manufacturing jobs, they had to compete with the glut of other Americans for the non-offshorable, lower paying, low-skill jobs, in retail, hospitality, and food service. “According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, two out of every three displaced manufacturing workers who were rehired in 2012 experienced a wage reduction, most of them taking a pay cut of greater than 20 percent.” The result is an increasing gap between the rich and the poor and a shrinking middle class.

Manufacturing jobs are the foundation of the middle class; these jobs raised the average daily wage between 1900 and 2000 from $2.50 a day to $96.00 a day. If we lose the majority of our manufacturing industry, we will lose our middle class.

We were supposed to realize the benefits of lower prices as consumers, but in contrast, the report states, “Despite a 188 percent rise in food imports from Canada and Mexico under NAFTA, the average nominal price of food in the United States has jumped 65 percent since the deal went into effect.”

As a result, our “average annual U.S. agricultural trade deficit with Mexico and Canada under NAFTA stands at $800 million, more than twice the pre-NAFTA level.” American ranchers and cattlemen have been hurt by the 130 percent increase of beef imports from Mexico and Canada since NAFTA took effect, “and today U.S. consumption of “NAFTA” beef tops $1.3 billion annually.” U.S. food processors moved to Mexico to take advantage of low wages, resulting in a loss of jobs for Americans at U. S. food processing plants.

The report was a revelation to me about an unintended consequence of NAFTA ? the dramatic increase of illegal immigrants to the U. S. in the past 20 years. According to the report, the increased export of subsidized U. S. corn to Mexico resulted in the destruction of “…the livelihoods of more than one million Mexican campesino farmers and about 1.4 million additional Mexican workers whose livelihoods depended on agriculture.”

The report quotes an exposé, “Trade Secrets,” by John Judis in the April 9, 2008 issue of New Republic, which stated. “Wages dropped so precipitously that today the income of a farm laborer is one-third that of what it was before NAFTA. As jobs disappeared and wages sank, many of these rural Mexicans emigrated, swelling the ranks of the 12 million illegal immigrants living incognito and competing for low-wage jobs in the United States.”

As a result, “The desperate migration of those displaced from Mexico’s rural economy pushed down wages in Mexico’s border maquiladora factory zone and contributed to a doubling of Mexican immigration to the United States following NAFTA’s implementation.”

Prior to NAFTA, jobs at maquiladora factories were responsible for a growing middle class in cities such as Tijuana and Tecate in Baja California, Mexico. The report states that “Real wages in Mexico have fallen significantly below pre-NAFTA levels as price increases for basic consumer goods have exceeded wage increases. A minimum wage earner in Mexico today can buy 38 percent fewer consumer goods as on the day that NAFTA took effect.”

The lower wages at Mexican maquiladoras since NAFTA explains why Mexico is now benefitting from “nearsourcing,” which is returning manufacturing from China where wages have risen 15-20% year over year for the past five years. Taking into consideration the other costs and hidden costs of doing business offshore that comprise a Total Cost of Ownership analysis; Mexico is now more competitive than the coastal areas of China’s manufacturing industry.

Of course, the influx of illegal immigrants from Mexico is another factor in the downward pressure on wages in the United States. Today, only 1.9 million hourly workers make $20 per hour, which is a marker for jobs that provide a middle-class standard of living, down 60% since 1979, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In conclusion, we can clearly see from the well-documented evidence that NAFTA has not benefited the American people. It may have benefited American corporations that expanded their sales in Mexico or moved manufacturing to Mexico to increase their profits. However, I am sure that none of the American company owners of the more than 60,000 manufacturing firms that have closed since 1994 or the nearly one million American workers who lost their jobs because of NAFTA would say they benefited from this trade agreement.

The last thing we need is another free trade agreement such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement that has been negotiated behind closed doors by the Obama Administration for the past three years. We can’t afford the loss of more American jobs. What we need are trade policies that will help American manufacturers and address the predatory mercantilist policies of China, Japan, Korea, and other countries with regard to government subsidies, currency manipulation, product dumping, and intellectual property theft. We need to have balanced trade as recommended by the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) in their issue paper, “21st Century Trade Agreement Principles.” As chair of the newly formed California chapter of CPA, I would welcome your support and involvement to rebuild American manufacturing, create more higher-paying manufacturing jobs, and reduce our trade deficit and national debt.

San Diego Manufacturing Trends

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

From 2000 to 2011, the U. S. lost 5.8 million manufacturing jobs and 57,000 manufacturing firms closed. U.S. Department of Commerce shows that “U.S. multinational corporations… cut their work forces in the U.S. by 2.9 million during the 2000s while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million.”

Over the last three years, we have finally seen a growth of about 526,000 manufacturing jobs nationwide for a 4.59% growth rate, but California has lagged behind the nation at only a 0.63% growth rate for 7,900 jobs gained. Mainly due to the effects of sequestration on our military/defense industry, San Diego continued to lose manufacturing jobsin 2013, losing more than 2,000 jobs from February – November.

Offshoring has been major cause of slow economic growth after Great Recession and the high unemployment has exacerbated local, state and federal budget deficits. This has resulted in a weakened middle-class, declining innovation, and lower sales levels in weakened home market.

“Reshoring”/Resurgence of “Made in USA”

A September 2003 report prepared for the U. S. Congress U. S.–China Committee on Economic and Security Review Commission, by Peter Nolan of the University of Cambridge stated, “A ‘‘herd herd ‘mentality to participate in the ‘‘Chinese miracle’’ developed among global giant corporations… Global corporations now view China as central to their long long-term strategy.”

A Stone Associates interview with Technology Forecasters (10/21/03) corroborated the fact that some companies were following this “herd mentality” in migrating to China even when it didn’t make economic sense:  “There is a herd mentality with OEMs in China China—sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it doesn’t—not always rational decision… People tell their bosses what they want to hear hear—(going to China) gives a boost to the stock valuation, but you really have to do the analysis on a case by case basis.”

Now, the offshore supply chain dynamics are changing:

  • Oil prices – tripled in the last 5 years raising shipping costs
  • Labor rates rose about 15-20% year-over-year for last 5 years in China
  • Component/material prices increasing
  • Automation/robotics in U.S. has increased productivity
  • Political instability in China – Labor riots/strikes
  • Risk of disruption from natural disasters
  • U.S. $ declining

Most companies don’t look beyond quoted unit price to make a decision of which vendor to select. They don’t do a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) analysis, which simply stated, is an estimate of direct and indirect costs. The 13th edition of the APICS (supply chain organization) dictionary says:  “In supply chain management, the total cost of ownership of the supply delivery system is the sum of all the costs associated with every activity of the supply stream.”

The Reshoring Initiative was founded by Harry Moser, former CEO of GF Agie Charmilles in 2010. The goal is to change the sourcing mindset from “offshored is cheaper” to “local reduces the Total Cost of Ownership” and train OEMs and suppliers on why to source local and how to use TCO Calculator. Free Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) software is provided for OEMs and suppliers/unions.

Sourcing is slowly moving back to the United States. The 2012 MIT Forum for Supply Chain Innovation Reshoring Study revealed:  61% of larger companies surveyed “are considering bringing manufacturing back to the U.S” and 15.3% of U.S. companies stated that they are “definitively” planning to re-shore activities to the U.S. In April 2012 stated that 40% of contract manufacturers had done reshoring work this year.

Manufacturing Jobs / Year

*Estimated / **Calculated 

The Reshoring Initiative has calculated reshoring’s share of manufacturing job growth since Jan. 2010 is:

Job growth: ?500,000

Reshored jobs: ?80,000

Reshoring % of total: ?15%

Now in 2013, more companies are moving their services and manufacturing operations back to the United States. Nationally, General Electric and Whirlpool have moved some appliance manufacturing back to the U. S. Caterpillar moved operations from China to Mexico and the US. Locally, EcoATM, 451 Degrees, and Solatube have reshored by moving manufacturing back to San Diego County. Some of the parts, assemblies, and products that are not cost effective to come back to the U. S. are going across the border to Baja California, Mexico, and major contract manufacturers in Tijuana, Mexico, such as Sumitronics, are experiencing significant reshoring.

The demand for “Made in USA” goods seems to be increasing and is helping the resurgence of American manufacturing in certain areas, especially true in the apparel industry. Indeed, many consumers like the quality perception boost associated with “Made in USA” labels certifying that these goods were in fact made in America. American made items are also growing in popularity because our production costs are declining while Chinese labor is actually increasing.

Offshore outsourcing will continue indefinitely. The desirable” locations for outsourcing will change over time, and the purely financial benefits of lower cost will erode over time. The challenge is to keep as much as possible within the United States, and if more companies would utilize the TCO estimator worksheet, it would help maintain and return manufacturing to America.

Additive Manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing has been hailed by ‘The Economist’ as the catalyst of ‘the third industrial revolution’ and is projected to have a significant impact on manufacturing in the near future. It has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. Currently about 28% of the money spent on 3D printing of parts is for final products, but it is predicted to rise to 50% by 2016 and to 80% by 2020.

The major Additive Manufacturing methods are:

  • Stereo lithography
  • 3D printing
  • Laser sintering
  • high powered laser fuses powered metals into fully dense 3D objects, layer by layer
  • Fused-deposition modeling
  • A plastic or metal wire is unwound from a coil, supplying material to an extrusion nozzle to form success layers

San Diego is blessed with hundreds of design engineering and product development companies, many of which have one or more types of Additive Manufacturing equipment. There is also a service bureau for Additive Manufacturing in Poway, Solid Concepts, which has all of the types of equipment. A few of the engineering design/product development companies with which we are familiar are:

A Squared Technologies

Clarity Design

DD Studio

D&K Engineering

Dynapac Design Group

Expertise Engineering

Fallbrook Engineering

Flex Partners

Leardon Solutions

Koncept Design

Redpoint Engineering

Triaxial Design

In addition, there is the MakerPlace in San Diego, which inventors and entrepreneurs can think of it as their “dream” garage shop for developing and producing their own products. It is a place where they can use a variety of fabrication equipment & tools to work on projects:  Woodworking, metalworking, electronics, embroidery, sewing and specialty tools such as 3D printers, laser cutters and engravers. There are even

“incubator” offices upstairs for businesses to operate out of the same building as the fab shop.

Training to meet Manufacturing Skills Gap

In 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics estimated that 2.8 million, nearly a quarter of all U.S. manufacturing workers, were 55 or older. The improvement of the manufacturing industry has been a mixed blessing because as more skilled workers are needed, the supply is limited because baby boomers are retiring or getting close to retirement. “The oldest baby boomers turned 65 on Jan. 1, 2011, and every day thereafter for about the next 19 years, some 10,000 more will reach the traditional retirement age, according to the Pew Research Center.” What makes the situation worse is that there are not enough new ones to replace them because the subsequent generations were smaller and fewer chose manufacturing as a career.

This has resulted in an insufficient number of workers trained for advanced manufacturing jobs. Modern manufacturing is highly technical and requires understanding and proficiency in a wide variety of competencies. In the past 15 years, the manufacturing industry has evolved from needing low-skilled production-type assembly workers to being highly technology-infused. Thus, it is more of a skills gap in the specific skills needed by today’s manufacturers than a shortage of skilled workers.

A key component has been the development of the (National Association of Manufacturers) NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System—a system of stackable credentials applicable to all sectors in the manufacturing industry. In June 2011, President Obama announced that the Skills Certification System was the national talent solution for closing the skills gap and addressing this key issue for American manufacturers. The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Education Foundation leads in encouraging youth to get involved in manufacturing technologies through STEM-related activities in the K–12 levels, as well as supporting and advancing the Certification System for manufacturing skills.

San Diego is fortunate to have more opportunities for training in manufacturing skills than many other regions as shown below:

  • San Diego City College – AA degree in Manufacturing Technology, Machining Certificate
  • SDCCD Continuing Education Center – metal fab, welding, plasma cutting
  • Miramar College – biotech/biomedical lab technicians
  • Mira Costa College – Machining Certificate
  • San Pasqual High School – two year machining program
  • Chaparell High School (Charter) – two year machining program
  • Quality Controlled Manufacturing Inc. – machining training and apprenticeship
  • Workshops for Warriors (non-profit) – machining, sheet metal fab, welding, programming

Licensing vs. starting a company

As a member of the steering committee for the San Diego Inventors Forum (SDIF), I have noticed that in the last two years, more inventors are planning to license their technology vs. starting a company (probably about 70%) compared to about 50% previously). However, this trend doesn’t hold true for CONNECT’s Springboard program for entrepreneurs according to Ruprecht von Butlar. In an interview, he said, “The demand for the Springboard program has stayed consistent over the past few years, but the composition has changed ? more technology, biotech/biomedical, and life science. All of the entrepreneurs in their program have either already formed companies or plan to form companies rather than licensing their technology.”

I also interviewed Dr. Rosibel Ochoa, Executive Director of the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center, and she said they have 30 teams in their program, and all of them plan to start companies rather than licensing their technology.” The Center serves UCSD professors, graduate students, undergraduate students, and alumni. The professors are the only persons more interested in licensing their technology rather than leaving UCSD to be part of a team to start a company.

The difference between the Inventors Forum and the other two programs may be the fact that most of the inventors coming to our meeting in the past two years have been in the “Baby Boom” generation, now between the ages of 48 – 68, and they may realize by now that they don’t have the entrepreneurial skills to found and develop a company. Also, many of them are serial inventors, who enjoy the technical part of inventing a new product, and then want to go on to working on their next invention. Many of the under 40 inventors seem to be more interested in starting a company.

Outlook for 2014


–     Reshoring is creating more manufacturing jobs and generating more regional GDP

–     Additive manufacturing is accelerating development of new products

–     Broad access to skills training is available in San Diego


–     Unknown economic impact of Obamacare for manufacturers because of employer mandate

–     Possibility of full sequestration being restored to pay for extending unemployment benefits

If the current military/defense budget remains in effect without the restoration of full sequestration that affected San Diego adversely last year, this year should be better than 2013 for local manufacturers. All of us in San Diego’s manufacturing industry certainly hope so.

We Must Stop Fast Track Trade Authority from Being Granted!

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

President Obama had hoped to be able to announce that he had been granted Fast Track Authority before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Bali, Indonesia on October 8, 2013, but due to budget issues and the government shutdown, the bill wasn’t introduced and approved in the fall. He had also hoped to complete negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement at this meeting, but no agreement was reached by the countries involved. For the last three years, the Obama administration has conducted negotiations behind closed doors through the offices of U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk without any involvement with Congress.

Eleven nations have participated in the negotiations: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. Japan announced its intention to join the agreement last spring. Because the TPP is intended as a “docking agreement,” other Pacific Rim countries could join over time, and the Philippines, Thailand, Colombia, and others have expressed interest. China could join the TPP at a later date without suffering any disadvantage even though this would negate the original reason for the TPP as a counter to China’s hegemony in the Pacific.

Reliable sources have revealed that a bill to grant the president Fast Track Authority under the Trade Promotion Authority will be introduced on January 8th in the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. It appears that there is sufficient support to pass these bills out of the committees for a vote on the floor.

Earlier this year, I published three blog articles on the dangers of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and granting the president Fast Track Authority:  “The Trans-Pacific Partnership Would Destroy our National Sovereignty;” “Why the Trans Pacific Partnership Would Hurt American Manufacturers;” and “The Trans Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement Would Harm our Environment.”

In my first article, I commented on the many articles that Lori Wallach of Public Citizen had written about the Trans-Pacific Partnership:  “Ms. Wallach opines that U.S. multinational corporations have the goal of imposing on more countries a set of extreme foreign investor privileges and rights and their private enforcement through the notorious “investor-state” system. ‘ This system elevates individual corporations and investors to equal standing with each TPP signatory country’s government- and above all of us citizens.’ This would enable ‘foreign investors to skirt domestic courts and laws, and sue governments directly before tribunals of three private sector lawyers operating under World Bank and UN rules to demand taxpayer compensation for any domestic law that investors believe will diminish their ‘expected future profits.’”

With regard to “Buy American” laws in my second article, I wrote, “What this means is that the TPP’s procurement chapter would require that all companies operating in any country signing the agreement be provided access equal to domestic firms to U.S. government procurement contracts over a certain dollar threshold. To meet this requirement, the U.S. would have to agree to waive Buy America procurement policies for all companies operating in TPP countries.”

I also noted that as far back as May 3, 2012, a letter from Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and 68 other Congressional Reps to President Obama stated in part, “We are concerned about proposals we understand are under consideration in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement negotiations that could significantly limit Buy American provisions and as a result adversely impact American jobs, workers, and manufacturers…We do not believe this approach is in the best interest of U.S. manufacturers and U.S. workers. Of special concern is the prospect that firms established in TPP countries, such as the many Chinese firms in Vietnam, could obtain waivers from Buy American policies. This could result in larger sums of U.S. tax dollars being invested to strengthen other countries’ manufacturing sectors, rather than our own.”

In a commentary article on October 15, 2013, Lt. Col (Retired) Allen West wrote, “TPP would subject the U.S. to the jurisdiction of foreign tribunals under the authority of the World Bank and United Nations. These unelected, unaccountable panels would constitute a judicial authority higher than the U.S. Supreme Court. They would have the power to overrule federal court rulings and order payment of U.S. tax dollars to enforce the special privileges granted to foreign firms that would be exempt from EPA and other regulations that strangle American firms.”

He added, “We’re also told TPP shows our Asian allies we’re serious about confronting China. But it would actually weaken the U.S. As the Chinese People’s Liberation Army uses every means possible to infiltrate our command and control systems, TPP bans Buy American policies that require crucial equipment for our troops be produced in the U.S. We don’t need TPP to stop China’s military expansion – we need to tell the same crowd pushing TPP to stop transferring their capital and technology to that communist dictatorship.”

In a commentary on the Economy in Crisis website, economist Pat Choate outlined the reasons why we should oppose President Obama being granted Fast Track Authority:

  • Allows the President to select countries with which to enter into trade agreements, set the substance of the talks and then sign those pacts without prior Congressional approval.
  • Allows the President to negotiate and include in these trade agreements not only tariffs and quotas, but also changes in federal, state and local laws on taxes, food and health safety, patents, copyrights, trademarks, immigration, Environment, Labor standards, and Buy America provisions, among many other issues.
  • Creates a Presidential advisory system, comprising 700 industry representatives appointed by the President. These advisors have access to confidential negotiating documents that are kept secret from most members of Congress and the public.
  • Empowers the President to draft the agreements to implement legislation without Congressional input.
  • Requires House and Senate Leaders to introduce the President’s bill on the first legislative day following the President’s submission.
  • Requires that the legislation be discharged from Committee 45 days after submission.
  • Requires a floor vote 15 days after the bill is discharged from Committees.
  • Allows only 20 hours of debate in each House.
  • Prohibits any amendments either in Committee or during the floor debate.
  • Eliminates several floor procedures, including Senate unanimous consent, normal debate and cloture rules, and the ability to amend the legislation.
  • Prevents a Senate filibuster.
  • Requires only a simple majority vote in each House for enactment.

In conclusion Mr. Choate states, “These trade pacts will have the effect of a treaty, though the Constitution requires a two thirds majority vote by the Senate for the United States to enter into a treaty.”

It is precisely this sort of amassing of powers that defines a dictatorship. Our Founding Fathers wisely chose to keep governmental power separated in a system of checks and balances, but by utilizing the Fast Track Authority, our Constitutional system of checks and balances would be destroyed and our national sovereignty would be given to foreign nations and multinational corporations in the name of “free trade.”

A letter addressed to President Obama, signed by 24 Republican Representatives in the House, stated, “Under Fast Track, the executive branch is empowered to sign trade agreements before Congress has an opportunity to vote on them, and then unilaterally write legislation making the pacts’ terms U.S. federal law. Fast Track allows the president to send these executive branch-authored bills directly to the floor for a vote under rules forbidding all floor amendments and limiting debate. And by requiring the House to vote on the bill within a preset period of time, it takes the floor schedule out of the hands of the House majority and gives it to the president.

Given these factors, we do not agree to cede our constitutional authority to the executive through an approval of a request for “Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority.”

The signatories were:  Jones, Bachmann, Joyce, Gohmert, Cook, McKinley, Jimmy Duncan, Stockman, LoBiondo, R. Bishop, C. Collins, C. Smith, Rohrabacher, Bentivolio, Grimm, Mica, Broun, Brooks, D. Young, Jeff Duncan, Gibson, Denham, Hunter and Fitzpatrick.

On the Democrat side of the aisle, Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and George Miller (D-CA) took the lead in getting a total of 151 Democrats in the House to oppose the use of “Fast Track” procedures that usurp Congress’s authority over trade matters. Their opposition stands for both the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and any future trade agreements. The letter in part states, “Congress, not the Executive Branch, must determine when an agreement meets the objectives Congress sets in the exercise of its Article I-8 exclusive constitutional authority to set the terms of trade. For instance, an agreement that does not specifically meet congressional negotiating objectives must not receive preferential consideration in Congress. A new trade agreement negotiation and approval process that restores a robust role for Congress is essential to achieving U.S. trade agreements that can secure prosperity for the greatest number of Americans, while preserving the vital tenets of American democracy in the era of globalization.”

If Fast Track Authority is approved, it would allow President Obama to essentially have dictatorial control over the country in many respects. Fast Track Authority gives the executive branch legislative powers, something expressly forbidden by the Constitution. We must deny the President Fast Track Authority. If this is granted, it will be even more difficult to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership from being approved.

It would be the final nail in the coffin for U.S. sovereignty. Contact your Congressional representative and urge them to oppose the Fast Track Authority and forward this article to your friends and ask them to do the same!