BROOK PARK, OH – As the Obama Administration finalizes negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) visited Ford Motor Company’s Cleveland Engine Plant today to call for the inclusion of currency provisions in the agreement to protect the American auto industry and its workers from unfair trade practices.
“Manufacturing jobs are a ticket to the middle class,” Brown said. “But we must ensure our auto industry and our workers can compete in the global economy. That means saying no to trade agreements that don’t protect American workers and American companies from unfair trade practices. We can’t fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership if it means fast-tracking the loss of American jobs.”
Brown joined Ford Vice President for International Government Affairs Steve Biegun and Mark Payne of the United Auto Workers (UAW) to discuss how the American auto industry is hurt when countries cheat by undervaluing their currency.
“Ford is a top U.S. exporter, and we can compete with anyone if there is a level playing field. But some countries unfairly subsidize their manufacturers through currency manipulation,” said Biegun. “Enforcing existing international rules against this trade practice is critical to the future of American manufacturing. That is why we are calling on the Administration to include strong and enforceable currency rules in all future trade deals.”
Ford is committed to keeping manufacturing jobs in Ohio. Earlier this month, the plant began producing four-cylinder 2.0-liter and 2.3-liter EcoBoost engines previously made in Spain, bringing 450 jobs and a nearly $200 million investment to Cleveland. Following a press conference, Brown, Biegun, and Payne toured the plant’s new engine lines.
Congress is preparing to give the Administration renewed fast track authority, known as Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to conclude TPP negotiations, as well as other trade initiatives. In the past, fast track authority has accelerated passage of trade deals that did not adequately protect the interests of American manufacturing workers.
Brown has long been a champion of American manufacturing and Ohio’s auto industry. Brown has repeatedly urged the Administration to learn from the lessons of its free trade agreement with South Korea (KORUS FTA) and ensure that the TPP removes all non-tariff barriers and includes enforceable currency provisions. Three years ago, the United States signed KORUS FTA. Since its enactment, Brown argued that South Korea’s non-tariff barriers and currency intervention have put American auto producers at a competitive disadvantage.
Brown has led the fight against currency manipulation in the Senate. He was the lead sponsor of a bipartisan bill that would stand up for American manufacturers by punishing countries like China that cheat by manipulating currency. Brown’s bipartisan legislation, the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act, would use U.S. trade law to counter the economic harm to American manufacturers caused when countries unfairly undervalue their currency to give their exports an unfair price advantage. The bill would provide consequences for countries that fail to adopt appropriate policies to eliminate currency misalignment—all without adding a dime to the federal budget. Brown has also urged the Administration to include protections against currency manipulation in TPP.