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Congressman Mark Pocan

Representing the 2nd District of Wisconsin

#TruthInTrade Day 10: Trade Agreements Make it Easier and More Lucrative to Build Sweat Shops Abroad

Mar 28, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) today continued his #TruthInTrade campaign to highlight the unintended consequences of free trade agreements.  Last week the campaign focused on concrete examples of how multinational corporations use legal advantages allowed by trade agreements to overturn laws protecting the environment and people.  This week the stories will focus on the potential threats trade deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), pose to food safety, environmental protection, jobs, and the economy.  More information about #TruthinTrade is available here.

“Trade agreements promote the practice of sending jobs overseas where work is done in sweat shops, while disregarding the rights of workers around the world,” said Representative Pocan. “Trade deals allow multinational corporations to take advantage of unfair labor practices and unsafe working conditions to rake in billions. On top of that, these deals not only ship jobs to foreign countries, but they depress U.S. wages and make it harder for jobs to be created here in America. ”

The abysmal working conditions and despicable wages workers face in countries such as Bangladesh and Vietnam are well documented. Minimum wages of 28 cents an hour and almost no days off of work are the norm. The collapse of Rana Plaza garment-factory in Bangladesh last year left more than 1,100 people dead. In Vietnam wages are only about two thirds of what wages are in China making Vietnam attractive to multinational corporations looking to make billions off of cheap labor. This all means more jobs shipped overseas, in sweatshop-like conditions.