WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is holding a roundtable in Washington today as part of his ongoing fight against yet another job-killing trade agreement –the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – that could hurt American auto manufacturers and deny them new market opportunities. Brown took to the Senate floor ahead of today’s event to highlight the need to make TPP stronger for Ohio auto workers.
“TPP’s auto rules were written for Japanese automakers, to the benefit of China, and at the expense of American auto jobs. TPP will jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of Americans – including more than 600,000 Ohioans – whose jobs depend on the U.S. auto supply chain. These are not just statistics – we are talking about real workers in Ohio and across the country with bills to pay and families to feed. They’ve fought hard to bring the American auto industry back to life, and their hard work made the auto rescue a success. 2015 was a record year for American automakers. We cannot pull the rug out from under them now with a trade deal that sells out American auto jobs,” Brown said on the Senate floor today.
Video of the Senator’s remarks is available here.
Audio of the Senator’s remarks is available here.
According to the Center for Automotive Research, Ohio’s auto industry contributes more than 629,000 jobs to Ohio, representing approximately 11 percent of Ohio’s workforce. Just last week, it was reported that U.S. auto sales hit a record high. Brown warned that TPP could roll back the progress of the auto rescue and jeopardize U.S. jobs in the auto sector.
Under the TPP, only 45 percent of a vehicle has to be made in a TPP country in order to qualify for the agreement’s benefits. These rules of origin are weaker than the North American Free Trade Agreement’s (NAFTA) standards, which required 62.5 percent of a vehicle to be made in a NAFTA country. The TPP would mean that less than half of the car must be made in a TPP country, which means fewer cars will come from the U.S. auto supply chain.
As the U.S. and 11 other countries negotiated the TPP, Brown was an outspoken advocate for a strong auto chapter that would level the playing field for U.S. automobile manufacturers and workers. In September, he penned a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman urging him to negotiate an agreement that holds Japan to its commitment to phase out its tariffs in accordance with the longest staging period, use NAFTA-based rules of origin as a basis for TPP, and include provisions to remove non-tariff barriers, including currency manipulation.
Brown also wrote to Froman in December 2014 highlighting the impact of TPP on the auto industry and outlining similar concerns over tariffs, country of origin labeling, and currency.