Fair Free Trade

To this day, I have yet to see a fair free trade agreement. NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) was signed into law by President Clinton, but it was also supported by political leaders from across the spectrum-- including every living former President (Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Bush); most of the nation's governors; and leaders of both parties. I believe that NAFTA has hurt us more than it has helped us. As your congressman, I want to make trade actually fair for all Americans; for WE the People.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement currently being considered by Congress isn't designed to work for ordinary American people. In fact, the public wasn't even allowed to participate in the drafting process. Instead, the agreement was drafted in secret by multinational corporations and lobbyists.

Why? Because they only consider the short-term profits of their shareholders rather than the future of all Americans. They don't care if the TPP costs American jobs, lowers wages, or limits our ability to protect our health or environment. This essentially undermines our sovereignty and self-determination.

As your congressman, I will be voting against TPP and will do my best to convince others to vote against TPP. I will also help draft trade agreements that enable all US citizens to prosper and preserve our sovereignty. This will ensure that we maintain our high environmental and labor standards.

We have already witnessed the painful results of trade policies such as NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and CAFTA (Central America Free Trade Agreement). Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, and American companies have shifted their manufacturing operations to countries that don't follow internationally-accepted environmental, health, or labor standards. This has caused a "race to the bottom" where everyone around the world suffers from lower standards while a few multinational corporations line their pockets. The only way to solve this dilemma is to overhaul our trade policies in a way that preserves international health, labor, and environmental standards and gives all Americans a chance to benefit from international trade. We also need to provide job training and other forms of trade adjustment assistance so that people who have been affected by failed trade policies can adapt as America transitions to a more fair and equitable global economy.  

TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) will be just as bad-- if not worse-- than previous trade agreements such as NAFTA and CAFTA. The TPP belongs to a new breed of trade agreements that limits our country's ability to pass laws which protect our health and environment. Under the TPP's arbitration provision, foreign corporations that think their profits are harmed by US laws can sue the United States in a private arbitration proceeding-- even if these laws are designed to protect consumers, public health, or the environment. These arbitrations are conducted in secret and usually are judged by an elite group of corporate lawyers who alternate between defending multinational corporations and adjudicating cases involving these very same corporations. As US citizens, we should not allow secretive private tribunals overturn laws that were duly enacted to protect our country.

America's foreign trade policies simply haven't been working for the American people. Rather, they have served the narrow interests of multinational corporations that are shipping US jobs overseas. America has also failed to stand up to countries that engage in unfair trade practices such as currency manipulation and large government subsidies provided to state-owned corporations.

Due to these unfair practices, American manufacturers can't compete with foreign companies either in the United States or abroad. If, on other hand, goods produced in a country like China were subject to tariffs imposed on unfair trading partners, the price of the Chinese imports would be on par with American-manufactured goods. This would give American companies an incentive to set up manufacturing operations in the United States and bring back jobs that were outsourced. Germany has done this and they’re already prospering as a result. So we know it's possible to pursue trade policies that create a more level playing field and ensure that hard-working Americans enjoy the benefits of trade. All of this can be done and will be pursued by me, as your congressman.

My opponent, Mimi Walters, supported NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement Implementation Bill; Bill HR 3450). Walters also favored implementation of CAFTA (Central America Free Trade Agreement Implementation Bill; Bill HR 3045). In addition, she intends to vote YES on implementing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Based on her voting record, Walters clearly wants America's current disastrous trade regime to continue without modification. Walters isn't fighting for WE the People. Instead, she is working for the Wall Street and Billionaire Class who are supporting her campaign (for more information on which industries contribute the most to Walters, see here).

Walters’ Voting/Support Record:

  • YES on implementing North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (NAFTA Implementation Bill; Bill HR 3450)
  • YES on implementing Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) (CAFTA Implementation Bill; Bill HR 3045)
  • Supports and intends to vote YES on implementing the new trade deal Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
  • NOT standing up for WE the People

Varasteh’s Congressional Pledge:

  • Impose tariffs against countries that manipulate or undervalue their currency
  • Get us out of unfair free trade agreements
  • Standing up for WE the People
  • Not for sale