(Host)Today, Congressman Bernie Sanders will urge his colleagues in the U.S. House to support a plan to have the United States withdraw from the World Trade Organization.
Sanders acknowledges that the proposal probably won’t pass, but he hopes it will stimulate debate over the nation’s growing trade deficit.
When the U.S. joined the WTO in 1996, Sanders says the nation’s trade deficit was $96 billion. There are estimates that this year’s deficit will be more than $700 billion. And Sanders says this country’s participation in the WTO is largely responsible for the growing deficit.
(Sanders) “What these large corporations essentially want is American workers to be forced to compete against desperate people in China who have no rights, who make thirty cents an hour. And I think that is just unfair to the middle class of this country. We cannot and should not be forced to compete under those circumstances.”
(Host) While Sanders expects to lose this fight, he believes it will set the stage for a spirited battle over a proposed free trade agreement with the countries of Central America.
(Sanders) “I think that the rules of theWTO are rigged against the American workers. And I think what’s happening now is that Congress is beginning to catch on. And you’re going to see the Central American Free Trade Agreement, CAFTA, go down in defeat . And I think Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, Progressives are increasingly skeptical about those policies which have led to a decline in the middle class.”
(Host) Sanders says he doesn’t oppose international trade deals but he wants all countries to compete on a level playing field in terms of labor rights and environmental standards.