Updated: 10/27/2013 11:48 PM
Created: 10/27/2013 10:40 PM WHEC.com
By: Joangel Concepcion
An international trade agreement that is currently being negotiated may end up costing our area hundreds of jobs.
That's what Congresswoman Louise Slaughter is saying may happen because of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
It's a move that would allow a number of countries to become free trade partners with the United States.
Slaughter says she fears bringing in companies from overseas may put local manufacturing companies at risk.
New Census data shows the U.S-Korea trade balance is on track to become one of the largest trade deficits on record, almost $15-billion.
Congresswoman Slaughter says she fears it will only get worse. She says she's concerned our trade negotiators are making the same mistakes that were made in the past.
“Every trade agreement they've had since I've been in Congress has hurt both the American manufacturers and American workers. Not one of them benefited. We have seen in our area what those bad trade agreements can do to our industries,” said Slaughter.
An example Slaughter uses is the iconic suit manufacturing company, Hickey Freeman.
She says that through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, hundreds of employees will be at risk and it's just not fair. If these countries were to put jobs in Rochester at a lower cost, the area will lose jobs to those countries and their companies.
Also, a local expert explained that through the pact, countries will be able to sell us many more items than we are able to sell. There would be an imbalance and our international partners will be making out better than we are.
He says the agreement can only work if it goes both ways.
“I do believe Americans can compete as long as it is a level playing field. It has to be equal. We can not have tariffs on their end when we are trying to put things into their country. Opening our doors up to them and them being able to sell things to us, it has to be an even playing field. I can't stress that enough,” said Charles Larocco Jr., Common Wealth Financial Group.
Slaughter also renewed her push for legislation that would ensure American manufacturers would have fair access to foreign markets.
News10NBC will keep you posted on any new developments as this agreement is still under negotiation.