January 13, 2014: TPA sides begin to square off

Posted by mmcmullan on 01/13/2014


Holy smokes! We’re in the thick of January already. 2014 waits for no one. What’s going on in the world of American manufacturing this week?

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, which counts the U.S. and major Asian economies around the Pacific rim among its parties, is inching toward its finish line. This expansive pact has been negotiated behind closed doors, but when it gets presented on Capitol Hill, its stewards in the Obama administration want to make sure it only faces an up-or-down vote. To get one, it’s gonna need “fast track” Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). And last week, new legislation was introduced that would give it to them. Here’s Bloomberg:

The trade authority, which expired in 2007, lets Congress set parameters for considering trade deals, and allows lawmakers to pass the accords without making amendments. Opponents, including labor unions and environmental groups, say they want more say in the pacts, particularly with the Pacific agreement in its final stages of negotiation, before giving Obama fast-track authority.

As the article states, there are lots of interested parties out there and some aren’t keen on letting fast track slide without significant concessions. Plenty of environmental and labor groups count themselves among those ranks. Tea Party Republicans. Even linguist Noam Chomsky. With so much opposition to these trade negotiations, will TPA pass?

Speaking of Congress: The Congressional-Executive Commission on China will be discussing Beijing’s compliance with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules on Wednesday. American manufacturers have a lot of bones to pick with the way China approaches international trade, so you can bet your friends at the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) will be paying attention to the the commission’s hearing. Come Wednesday, you can watch the whole thing live right here.

President Obama heads to Raleigh on Wednesday: The president is expected to refocus on the economy in his remarks, and specifically on the manufacturing sector, in this warm up to the upcoming State of the Union address. The speech in Raleigh will most likely focus on creating manufacturing jobs. Don’t forget: During his re-election campaign, the president set a goal of creating 1 million new manufacturing jobs by the end of his second term. But, as the latest jobs report confirmed, we still have a long way to go. (Ahem. 923,000 jobs to be specific.)

Cuomo drops it to the floor:

And ICYMI: The New York Times Magazine published a colorful photo essay on the American textile industry. ‘Fruits of the Loom’ by Christopher Payne and Rivka Galchen takes you inside the factories of a once-booming sector of our economy.

Okay, team, let’s break the huddle. Congress is talking China’s trade compliance; a vote on fast track authority is coming down the pike, and President Obama is talking economics in North Carolina. You know what we’re watching this week. We’ll catch you for the recap this Friday!


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