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International Trade

Total U.S. exports for 2014 are $1.62 trillion. Automotive products represent 8.70% of that total, or more than $140 billion in 2014. Automakers and suppliers are America’s largest exporters, beating the next best performing manufacturing sector by more than $80 billion over the past 5 years. In 2013 alone, FCA US, Ford and General Motors exported nearly 1 million American-made vehicles to more than 100 different foreign markets.

Top Five U.S. Exporters (2014, in billions)


As America’s largest exporters, FCA US, Ford and General Motors have supported every U.S. free trade agreement ratified. These agreements have reduced tariffs and eliminated numerous non-tariff trade barriers in key markets. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could generate similar benefits for U.S. exporters, but only if key issues are addressed:

  • Eliminate all auto non-tariff barriers in all TPP-member countries.
  • Include strong, enforceable currency manipulation disciplines (This is vital, due to Japan’s participation in the TPP).

Currency Manipulation by Japan undermines global competition in three ways:

  1. Makes it harder to export American vehicles to Japan;
  2. Provides Japanese automakers with an unfair competitive advantage in the United States; and,
  3. Makes it harder for American companies to compete with Japanese automobiles in other markets, like South America, China, Europe and the Middle East.

AAPC developed a proposal supported by leading non-partisan trade experts that is based on International Monetary Fund commitments already agreed to by all TPP member countries. It asks three simple questions to determine if a TPP member manipulates its currency:

  1. Did the TPP member have a current account surplus over the six-month period in question?
  2. Did it add to its foreign exchange reserves over that same six-month period?
  3. Are its foreign exchange reserves more than sufficient (i.e., greater than three months normal imports)?

If a TPP member is found to have breached its currency commitments under the agreement, the other TPP members shall be entitled to suspend the tariff benefits of the agreement with respect to the violating TPP member.

In an industry where automakers earn about $1,500 on a typical vehicle, Japan’s undervalued currency represents thousands of dollars per vehicle.

Weak Yen Subsidy Per Car in U.S.


Based on the October 1, 2012 rate of 78 yen/$, when Abenomics started.
3-4% profit margin on sedan. Source: McKinsey & Company, 2003 Preface to the Auto Sector Cases

 

Nov 14 2014
Written by Michael Hunter | Posted on Financial Times

The yen neared its weakest level in seven years on Thursday and Tokyo’s stock indices once more outperformed their Asian peers with the prospect of a snap election continuing to hold sway over the country’s markets.

Speculation that Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, could seek to confirm his mandate for extended stimulus and delay a second scheduled increase in consumption tax set for next October continued to dominate sentiment.

Nov 10 2014
Written by Shawn Donnan | Posted on Financial Times

The Obama administration faces pressure to include currency provisions in a new Pacific Rim trade pact, with Republicans and Democrats citing swings in the yen as cause for action.

The White House has been trying to avoid addressing the issue in talks with Japan and 10 other countries over a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), since a bipartisan majority in Congress called last year for any resulting pact to include provisions to ban currency manipulation.

Nov 06 2014

For Immediate Release:
November 6, 2014
Contact: Colin Dunn
info@americanautocouncil.org
(202) 400 - 2609

AAPC Statement on Japan’s Devaluation of the Yen

Nov 06 2014
Written by Yoko Kubota | Posted on The Wall Street Journal

Toyota Motor Corp. said it expects record profit in its current fiscal year, buoyed by a weaker yen that helps exports and a model lineup that is steaming ahead in the U.S.

The world’s largest auto maker by vehicle sales turned in another blockbuster quarter powered by sales of its profitable sport-utility vehicles in the U.S. Toyota’s July-September net profit rose 23% from a year earlier to ¥539 billion yen ($4.7 billion), topping profit at global rivals Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co.

Oct 28 2014
Written by Simon Johnson | Posted on Project Syndicate

Looking for ways to stimulate economic growth and create jobs, US President Barack Obama’s administration is seeking to press ahead with the mega-regional free-trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But is the US going about it the right way?