WASHINGTON –The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) released broad principles today to establish standards for U.S. trade policy that put workers first, balance trade deficits, and improve labor and environmental protections around the world. The Congressional Progressive Caucus believes it is possible to negotiate a trade agreement that doesn’t replicate the mistakes of the past, and instead creates a new model for trade, promoting balanced growth for the global economy.

The text of the executive summary is below and the full version can be viewed here. 

Principles for Trade: A Model for Global Progress

America’s current trade policy fails working families while increasing profits for the world’s largest corporations. Trade agreements should create a net increase of good American jobs, spur more balanced trade between partners, and improve governance, public health, and environmental protections around the world. The Congressional Progressive Caucus believes the following principles can ensure fairer trade agreements by prioritizing middle class families and removing special protections and privileges for corporations:

  • Protect Congress’ Authority to Set Trade Policy
  • Restore Balanced trade
  • Put Workers First
  • Stop Currency Manipulation
  • Expand Buy America Procurement Practices
  • Protect the Environment for Future Generations
  • Prioritize Consumers above Profits
  • Protect Nationhood Rights
  • Secure Affordable Access to Essential Medicines and Services
  • Respect Human Rights
  • Provide a Safety Net for Vulnerable Workers

Since implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, the United States has lost millions of jobs in key sectors like manufacturing, wages have stagnated, and the standard of living for working families has dropped.

Outside of the United States, misguided trade policies are devastating both rural and urban communities in emerging nations, from the displacement of millions of small farmers in Mexico to low wages and terrible conditions for garment factory workers in Honduras.  Trade agreements that destroy local livelihoods and provide workers with little economic opportunity create strong incentives for immigration to the United States. U.S. trade policy must focus on creating economic opportunity for working people in the United States and abroad, not only on maximizing short-term profits for large corporations.

The United States negotiates some of the world’s largest trade agreements. These deals must put working families and our environment first. The United States must stop using trade agreements as investment deals for the world’s wealthiest corporations and instead prioritize higher wages, safer work and environmental standards, and a healthier world economy.

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