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Does Japan Have a Blank Check to Cheat?

April 12, 2013
“Haven’t we learned anything from the last decade?" asks industry group. " Large trade imbalances and barriers in autos, auto parts, and other manufactured goods have gone unaddressed, and were not adequately addressed in this consultation.

That answer would be yes, according to Scott Paul, who is president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM).

He is not very happy with the Obama administration about their decision today to allow Japan to enter negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

"Including Japan in the TPP without ironclad assurances that it will open its markets and stop manipulating its currency is incredibly irresponsible,” Scott says.

"Before the real negotiations have even started, it looks like the Obama Administration has already given Japan a blank check to cheat,” he added. “Haven’t we learned anything from the last decade?  Large trade imbalances and barriers in autos, auto parts, and other manufactured goods have gone unaddressed, and were not adequately addressed in this consultation.

"You can add this to the list of threats that stand in the way of a true American manufacturing resurgence. What makes matters worse is that this would be a self-inflicted wound.

"The men and women who work hard every day on the shop floor of America’s steel mills and auto plants deserve better than this. Our message is simple: if Japan is in the TPP under these circumstances, then count us out."

Other manufacturers have also expressed their opinion to the Obama Administration that it needs to include rules governing currency manipulation  for any trade agreements.

In a letter last May, the group pointed out that for Obama to achieve his goal of doubling exports by 2014 the government must “create  a level playing field for U.S business to access markets abroad.”

Representative Sandy Levin (MI), the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee is not happy about what Japan’s participation might mean for the automotive industry.   He said that any U.S. tariff reduction should be linked to action by Japan to open its market.

"For decades Japan has had and been using to their economic advantage the most closed auto market in the world," Levin said, noting that imported cars' market share in Japan was far lower than in the United States.

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