WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) applauded a speech by a high-level Ford Company executive that called for the Obama Administration to ensure strong currency manipulation measures in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Brown, who is the author of bipartisan legislation that would stand up for American workers and businesses when countries like Japan cheat by manipulating its currency, offered the following statement:
“I applaud Mr. Hinrich for standing up for the American auto industry,” Brown said. “One in every eight Ohio jobs is connected to the auto industry. But in order to protect those jobs, countries like Japan must be held accountable when committing unfair trade practices. Congress shouldn’t grant Trade Promotion Authority unless American workers and businesses are guaranteed a level playing field. And the Administration shouldn’t agree to any trade deal unless it evens the playing field and punishes currency manipulators.”
Joseph R. Hinrichs, Ford Motor Company’s Executive Vice President and President of the Americas, gave the keynote address at the Economic Club of Chicago where he announced that Ford’s support of the TPP was contingent on it including strong and enforceable currency disciplines. In June 2013, Brown authored the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2013, which would use U.S. trade law to counter the economic harm to U.S. manufacturers caused by currency manipulation, and provide consequences for countries that fail to adopt appropriate policies to eliminate currency misalignment.
The TPP is a proposed trade agreement that currently includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Canada, Mexico, and Japan. Congress has the constitutional authority to set the terms of trade and commerce with foreign nations. The Administration is conducting the TPP talks without Trade Promotion Authority, also known as Fast Track.
A December 2012 report by the Peterson Institute for International Economics concluded that currency manipulation by foreign governments had cost the U.S. from 1 million to 5 million jobs and increased the U.S. trade deficit by $200 billion to $500 billion per year. The Economic Policy Institute found that if China were to revalue the yuan to its equilibrium level, and other Asian countries followed suit, 2.25 million American jobs could be created. EPI also estimates that ending currency manipulation would increase Ohio’s jobs total by between nearly 95,000 and nearly 200,000; increase Ohio’s gross domestic product by between $8.26 billion and $17.41 billion; and increase Ohioans’ salaries by between $4.72 billion and $9.94 billion.
Brown has long been an opponent of NAFTA-style agreements that undermine American workers and businesses. Last month, Brown and U.S. Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) urged the Office of the United States Trade Representative to work directly with them and other members of Congress in constructing a consultation framework in advance of any consideration of Trade Promotion Authority. The five Senate Finance Committee members cited the significance of the TPP and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership as reasons for Congress and President Obama to form a true partnership in order for the United States to negotiate deals advantageous to American interests.
In March 2013, Brown joined a group of more than 50 Senators in urging President Obama to put the best interests of American workers and businesses first as negotiations continued with Japan on its potential entry to the TPP. Brown and his colleagues specifically cited Japan’s longstanding efforts to impose trade barriers and block U.S. exports as actions that have hurt the American economy, domestic job creation, and specifically its auto industry.