Deadline not met on Pacific trade deal

Posted by TGarland on 01/07/2014

We’re a week into 2014 and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) still hangs over our collective head. The Obama administration failed to meet its self-imposed Dec. 31 deadline for completing the TPP.

To be honest, we aren’t that surprised.

After the President missed a series of trade negotiations in Indonesia in October due to the government shutdown, the Pacific trade deal negotiations faltered. The United States Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman and his team of negotiators still have some issues to iron out following December meetings in Singapore, reports Dave Boyer for the Washington Times:

The ministers from the participating countries said they had agreed on “landing zones” — areas of potential cooperation — but they did not indicate that a formal agreement is imminent.
'The Singapore meeting showed that there’s still important differences in several key areas of negotiations,' said Mireya Solis, chair of Japan Studies at the center-left Brookings Institution think tank. 'It’s not clear yet how the compromises will be reached.'

An important area of negotiation yet to be discussed: currency manipulation. A group of bipartisan lawmakers, American companies and workers have urged the administration to include currency provisions in the TPP. (Yet, USTR Froman has acknowledged that currency hasn't been discussed in negotiations.) So why are these provisions so important? Currency manipulation causes huge trade deficits.

Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce released new data showing a year-to-date trade deficit with Japan at $67.4 billion. And that’s nothing compared to our year-to-date trade deficit with China that stands at $293.9 billion.

Said AAM Presidnet Scott Paul:

Our trade deficit with China continues on a record pace for 2013 and remains a tremendous drag on economic growth while stifling future job opportunities. Two efforts could go a long way toward lowering the manufacturing trade deficit: Passing bipartisan currency reform legislation in Congress, and ensuring that the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) clearly bans trade-distorting currency manipulation.

With the possibility of China joining the TPP at a later date—we better make sure there is a currency manipulation provision in the completed TPP to protect American companies and workers.

Urge your Representative or Senator to get tough on currency manipulators.

Image features President Obama, Vice President Biden, USTR Michael Froman, and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker in the Oval Office on December 16, 2013.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza.

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