As Senate Debates More Free Trade Pacts, Brown Calls On Pres. Obama to Abandon Wrong-Headed Trade Policy And Pass New Trade Rules That Put American Jobs and Workers First

Brown Joined by Washington County and Coshocton County Manufacturers to Outline Legislation That Requires Fair, Two-Way Trade and Creates Opportunities for American Companies

Brown Releases County-by-County Report Showing Drastic Increase in Displaced Workers Qualifying for Trade Adjustment Assistance Since Passage of NAFTA, CAFTA

WASHINGTON, D.C.—As Congress debates more-of-the-same style trade agreements that have cost Ohio thousands of jobs since NAFTA was ratified in 1994, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) held a news conference call today urging President Obama to change course in trade policy and rewrite trade rules to put Ohio jobs and Ohio workers first. Brown detailed his opposition to the proposed trade pacts with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, and outlined legislation, the Reciprocal Market Access Act, that requires fair, two-way trade that creates opportunities for American workers and companies. Brown also released a letter to President Obama requesting specific benchmarks on jobs as the U.S.-Korea agreement is implemented and calling for a fundamental reorientation of U.S. trade policy.

“Last night, the Senate acknowledged what too many Ohio workers and manufacturers already know: that we are in a trade war. Last night, we took steps to fight back, by passing the biggest bipartisan jobs bill this session of Congress: my bill to fight back against Chinese currency manipulation,” Brown said. “But in a classic case of one step forward and three steps back, the Senate this week will be voting on three separate free trade agreements – with Korea, Panama, and Colombia.

“NAFTA-style trade agreements haven’t led to net job creation. There were jobs created by NAFTA and CAFTA, but when balanced against the jobs lost, the result has been massive job and trade deficits. President Obama should change course on trade policy and put American workers and American manufacturers first,” Brown continued. “This Administration should apply benchmarks for the implementation of the trade deals—and beyond that, we must reorient our trade policy so that before we rush into these agreements, we take steps that will ensure that future trade agreements live up to the promises.”

Ohio and American manufacturers face constant barriers accessing overseas markets. But rather than create opportunities for U.S. businesses, our trade policies often open our own markets to foreign competitors without addressing both the tariff and non-tariff barriers that deny U.S. companies access to foreign markets.  Brown’s bill instructs trade negotiators to eliminate foreign market barriers before reducing U.S. tariffs and is designed to ensure that our trade negotiations achieve real and meaningful market access for American producers.  Brown was joined by Marlin Perkins, vice president of sales for Globe Metallurgical, Inc., based in Beverly, Ohio, and Mike Keel, President of McWane Global, whose subsidiary, Clow Water Systems, is based in Coshocton. Perkins and Keel discussed the need for trade policies that benefit Ohio manufacturers and outlined how the Reciprocal Market Access Act will help them remain competitive in markets abroad.

“Clow is proud to export products we produce at our Coshocton facility.  In a number of countries, we face not only tariffs, but barriers behind those tariffs that limit our sales.  We face similar problems elsewhere around the globe. That has a clear and direct impact on production and job creation in Ohio, and across the country,” said Mike Keel, President of McWane Global. “America plays by the rules, while other nations often do not. We need to have a trade policy that is realistic and that measures results in terms of production, profits and, most important, job creation. Senator Brown’s bill will help us in that effort.”

To demonstrate how prior trade agreements have affected American and Ohio jobs, Brown also released a county-by-county report showing the number of displaced Ohio workers who have qualified for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) since the 1994 passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the 2005 passage of the Dominican Republic—Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). TAA for Workers is a federal program that provides aid to workers who lose their jobs or whose work hours and wages are reduced as a result of foreign trade. The program provides training for employment in another job or career, income support, job search allowances, and relocation allowances.

###

Press Contact

(202) 224-3978