Trade Treaty Concerns Surface

A proposed international trade treaty involving Pacific nations including Japan could threaten the domestic auto recovery here and in other industrial Midwestern states if it isn't smartly negotiated, the Big Three U.S. auto companies and Ohio senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown said.

Jobs in Michigan require a level playing field for trade

The city of Detroit has temporarily tapped out. In this case, municipal bankruptcy is more than just relief from debt obligations; it represents a huge psychic wound for the heart of American industry. Michigan makes things. So how could it have gotten this rough?

It’s bad, but there is hope. The Big Three, only a few years out of their deathbeds, are back in the black. GM, Ford, and Chrysler have produced profits that measure in the billions, despite the prewritten obituaries that appeared in 2009.

Despite their turnaround, the Big Three still face significant hurdles in getting their goods into Japan, and face import competition subsidized by currency manipulation. In fact, imports from all countries, including the U.S., account for only 6 percent of Japan’s auto market. Meanwhile, America has one of the most open auto markets in the world.



Rep. Levin details tougher trade requirements for Japan

A senior House Democrat wants Japan to earn any further reductions on auto tariffs by opening up its market to U.S. auto imports.

House Ways and Means Committee ranking member Sandy Levin (Mich.) called for a "new and more assertive approach to the problem" of solving Japan's longstanding restrictions on imports of foreign cars.

"Negotiations to open the Japanese auto market have repeatedly and totally failed in the past," he said Tuesday during a trade event at the Peterson Institute.


U.S. lawmaker seeks tough rules on Japan autos in trade talks

A senior U.S. lawmaker on Tuesday urged the Obama administration to push for tough rules on opening the U.S. market to more Japanese autos and to take a firm line in free trade talks against currency manipulation, as Detroit automakers and workers turned up the heat on the White House.

The demand from Representative Sander Levin, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, highlighted the difficulty President Barack Obama may face in getting the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership pact through Congress, unless he responds to concerns about the agreement among many of his own party members.

80,000 U.S. auto workers back tough line with Japan

More than 80,000 hourly and salaried U.S. auto workers signed a petition urging Congress to oppose approving a free-trade deal including Japan without significant changes on auto policy and currency by the world’s third-largest economy.

The petitions arriving at Capitol Hill offices Tuesday from employees at General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC strongly urge Congress to oppose completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership with Japan unless currency manipulation and non-tariff barriers are addressed.


Japan’s Entry Into Trade Talks Draws Concerns

Japan’s official entry Tuesday into trade talks with Asian and Pacific countries is already drawing some concerns in the U.S.

After the U.S., Japan is now the second-biggest economy in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, a group of countries that is seeking to finish negotiations on a wide-ranging trade deal as early as this year.

Currency Rules Sought in Pacific-Trade Deal by Automakers

A trade pact among Pacific-region nations should include provisions to prevent currency manipulation, Representative Sander Levin said, siding with U.S. automakers in expressing concern about Japan’s economic policies as the nation formally joins the talks.

“We need an enforceable obligation to avoid manipulating exchange rates,” Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the House Ways & Means Committee, said today in remarks for a speech at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

Trade Deficit in U.S. Jumped in May as Imports Near Record

The trade deficit in the U.S. unexpectedly jumped in May as imports climbed to the second-highest level on record, pointing to an economy that is overcoming higher taxes and government cutbacks.

The gap widened by 12.1 percent to $45 billion, the biggest since November, from $40.1 billion in April, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 71 economists called for a $40.1 billion deficit. The value of imports at $232.1 billion was second only to a record $234.3 billion in March 2012.

Auto Companies, Unions Outline Demands For Dealing With Japan In TPP

Labor unions and U.S. automotive manufacturers have outlined the concrete steps that they say the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative must take in order to ensure that the inclusion of Japan in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks does not end up harming U.S. companies and workers. On currency manipulation, these groups are aligned, but there appear to be some differences between them on issues like "managed trade" and rules of origin.

The groups made presentations outlining their view at a July 2 hearing of the Trade Policy Staff Committee on Japan's participation in TPP.

Matt Blunt, the president of the American Automobile Policy Council (AAPC), made clear that his group cannot support a final TPP deal unless its demands are met. "Unless the United States secures all of the commitments from Japan that we outlined in our June 9 submission, it will be impossible for the AAPC to support the TPP agreement," Blunt argued at the hearing.