Change we need

Published 10:48 am Wednesday, August 5, 2009

By Staff
Congressman G.K. Butterfield just may be right when it comes to the North American Free Trade Agreement, enacted during President Bill Clinton’s administration.
“We have a responsibility to revisit NAFTA,” the congressman from the state’s 1st Congressional District said Monday after a stop at National Spinning Co.’s facilities in Washington.
NAFTA has cost too many Americans their jobs, jobs that went out of the country to places where labor costs are much cheaper than in the United States of America, Butterfield said.
In 2005, Butterfield expressed his displeasure with NAFTA when he indicated he would not support President George W. Bush’s push for the Central American Free Trade Agreement.
“We had a bad experience with NAFTA,” Butterfield said, according to a July 16, 2005, posting on the Web site “North Carolinians remember that experience, and we’re still suffering the effects of it. We believe CAFTA will be not much different from NAFTA.”
Jim Chesnutt, National Spinning’s president and chief executive officer, has been saying just that for several years. It’s a safe bet that Chesnutt gave Butterfield an earful about NAFTA when the congressman stopped by Monday.
When National Spinning laid off about 130 workers four years ago, Chesnutt wasted little time laying blame for the layoffs.
“This was brought on completely by the flawed trade policy in Washington, D.C.,” said Chesnutt in July 2005.
In 2003, Chesnutt blamed unfair trade policies, China and members of the state’s Congressional delegation for the woes of the state’s manufacturing community, especially its textiles segment.
“It’s all about Washington, D.C. It’s all about unfair trade agreements. It’s all about the Chinese stealing intellectual property rights,” Chesnutt explained in June 2003.
Little has changed since then.
When it comes to NAFTA, things should change.
Perhaps the congressman from North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District can lead the effort to bring about that change.