Peters Statement on Fast Track Trade Promotion Authority Legislation

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today released the following statement on the passage of fast track trade promotion authority legislation in the Senate Finance Committee:

“We need trade policies that create a level playing field for American workers to compete globally. Too often, the U.S. opens its markets to foreign competition without the same level of access to those countries’ markets. While we play by the rules, other countries use tricks like currency manipulation and intellectual property theft to game international trade laws. 

“I am concerned that this trade promotion authority legislation could be used to push through a Trans-Pacific Partnership that does not adequately address currency manipulation, includes Japan before they substantially open their market to American automakers and paves the way for the inclusion of new member countries like China without thorough Congressional oversight or approval. A TPP that fails to fully address those concerns threatens American competitiveness and the economic renewal of the entire U.S. manufacturing base, and could cost tens of thousands of U.S. manufacturing jobs.

“Congress must be more involved in developing trade policy to ensure American businesses and workers are getting a fair deal. Our focus should be on passing legislation that helps American companies boost exports, compete abroad and create good-paying jobs here in the United States.”

If passed, trade promotion authority legislation would severely limit Congress’ ability to provide oversight of trade agreements or propose amendments that could help protect American workers and companies.

A 2012 Center for Automotive Research study found that passing the currently negotiated TPP which allows Japan to continue manipulating its currency could cost up to 25,600 American auto industry jobs as a result of increased Japanese vehicle exports and lower American vehicle production.  

U.S. negotiators have indicated that a final TPP agreement could also include a special docking provision to allow for the inclusion of new member countries in future years, including Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and China. China has a history of violating American intellectual property rights, intervening in currency markets and failing to follow existing international trade rules. Senator Peters recently sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman voicing his concerns over trade promotion authority opening a path for a trade agreement with China.

Senator Peters has a strong record of supporting policies that protect American workers and companies from unfair trade practices. He recently cosponsored the Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 to strengthen the monitoring and enforcement of U.S. rights under international and domestic trade rules to ensure that American workers, businesses, farmers and ranchers can compete fairly and successfully in the global marketplace. The Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 would make permanent the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center (ITEC), which was created to improve the effectiveness of U.S. challenges to unfair trade practices, and successfully pressured the World Trade Organization (WTO) to strike down illegal Chinese tariffs on U.S. auto exports to China in 2014.

Senator Peters is a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, where he works to promote policies that reinvest in Michigan’s manufacturing industry and support the American auto industry. He is dedicated to supporting economic growth, increasing American competitiveness and strengthening the middle class.