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DEM 2016 Convention protests TPP

Democratic convention delegates hold up signs protesting the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal as John Stanley from DeForest, Wisconsin, yells his protest from the convention floor in Philadelphia this week.

The Lake County Council and Highland Town Council have come out against the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, and the city of Chicago might too.

Both Highland and the Lake County Council have passed resolutions calling upon Indiana congressional representatives to oppose the 12-nation TPP and any similar trade deals “if they fail to restructure the misguided and failed policies of the past.”

Chicago Alderwoman Susan Sadlowski Garza of the 10th Ward right across the state border sponsored a similar resolution in the Chicago City Council urging the Illinois congressional delegation to also reject the TPP.

The trade deal, which is opposed by the Calumet Region’s labor unions, has become a hot-button issue in the presidential race. Both Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump oppose the trade deal, which has been negotiated for the last seven years.

The Obama administration touts the trade deal as a way to prevent China from dictating international trade rules and says it will increase exports of American goods. Critics say it would empower multinational companies to send factory jobs abroad to countries with low wages and few protections for the environment or workers.

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“The County Council of Lake County, Indiana calls upon our Congressional delegation to support new trade policy that truly promotes economic growth; avoids favoring foreign companies over domestic ones; promotes high standards of protection for workplaces, products, and natural resources; supports the creation and retention of jobs,” the Lake County resolution reads.

The resolution was approved last week and sent to U.S. Sens. Daniel Coats, R-Ind., Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville.

The council highlighted the hundreds of recent layoffs in Northwest Indiana’s steel industry, due largely to an unprecedented flood of cheap imports.

At the urging of the United Steelworkers union, Highland also passed a nearly identically worded resolution, noting the town’s unemployment rate was 6.1 percent, higher than both the state and nation.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.