WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the Senate considers legislation to grant the Administration with trade promotion authority to pass the largest trade agreement ever negotiated, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will offer an amendment to prevent China from docking onto the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) at a later date without congressional approval. Last year, China expressed an interest in joining TPP, and reports have indicated that Chinese leaders are closely following negotiations.
“Congress shouldn’t leave open a door for China to join the TPP at a later date without congressional approval,” Brown said. “China ignores trade laws so it can undercut American manufacturing, has manipulated its currency, and floods our markets with dumped steel imports. We must ensure that Congress can prevent TPP from becoming a free trade agreement with China.”
Brown’s amendment would spell out the process for future TPP partners to join the agreement. It would require the Administration to notify Congress of its intent to enter into negotiations with another country seeking to join the TPP. Within 90 days of notification, the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee would have to certify that the country can meet the standards of the agreement. Following this certification, the full House and Senate would have to vote on a resolution giving approval for the country to join negotiations. The country’s entry could be considered under fast track only if congressional approval and negotiations are completed within fast track’s authorization period.
Congress is debating a bill that would give the Obama 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 resulted in NAFTA-style trade deals that have shipped jobs overseas, shuttered Ohio manufacturing facilities, and given handouts to the biggest multinational corporations.
Under #NotAnotherNAFTA, Brown is leading the opposition to fast track and TPP in the Senate and demanding trade policy that puts American jobs first. Additionally, Brown has introduced a package of legislative proposals to support American manufacturing.
Last month, Brown voted against giving the Administration fast track authority during a U.S. Senate Finance Committee markup. Brown filed a total of 88 amendments to the trade package in an effort to stand up for American workers, increase transparency, and improve trade enforcement.
Brown’s Leveling the Playing Field Act, which would increase the ability of U.S. industries to fight back against unfair trade, was included in a customs bill that passed the Senate last week. In addition to the Leveling the Playing Field Act, Brown helped several amendments in the customs bill, including an amendment to crack down on currency manipulation and an amendment that would eliminate an exemption in current law that allows the U.S. to import certain products produced with forced or child labor. Brown also introduced critical amendments to the fast track bill. More information can be found here.