Trans-Pacific Partnership

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.

Submission of the American Automotive Policy Council in Response to the Office of the United States Trade Representative's Request for Comments on Negotiating Objectives with Respect to Japan's Participation in the Proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade