Congress is in the process of voting for a “fast track” on a new trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which includes Mexico and Pacific Rim countries.

“Fast track” means that the agreement would go through as is with no discussion with a yes vote. The trade agreement would go through pretty much as written by multinational corporations without much respect for the U.S. workforce and no provisions for workers’ rights or environmental issues elsewhere.

With China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2000 and the fast track version of NAFTA in 1993, the U.S. has lost about 4 million jobs and many more became lower paying or part time. Maine lost more than 2,500 jobs in the forest products industry alone; we have lost more than 10,000 in all. We are poised to lose many more if this agreement goes through. We also have a good chance of losing New Balance because of it.

I urge people to contact their Maine representatives in D.C. and call the minority and majority leaders in Congress. We also could do things like demand U.S.-made products by writing companies, stop buying Chinese-made goods and demand that Ford, GM and Chrysler stop assembling vehicles and making auto parts in Mexico that are for the U.S. market. We put U.S. workers out of work when we purchase these vehicles, and encourage these companies to send more production to Mexico. There is no excuse for the buyer, because all of this information is on the MSRP sticker on the side window of the vehicle.

I am trying to figure out who is going to pay the taxes to support the federal government if our Congress supports trade bills that take away good-paying jobs and give them to workers outside our borders.

Michael A. PolandMadison

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