UPDATE: Terri Lynn Land penned an op-ed in The Detroit News that expands a bit on her position when it comes to trade. In it, Lynn Land notes that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) should be posponed if it "does not ensure reciprocity in market access." As for trade overall, she writes:
I support free trade because it opens up new markets for Michigan products, autos and agriculture. But I will only support trade agreements that put Michigan businesses and workers on a level playing field with other countries.
Politicians talk a big game about how dedicated they are to supporting American manufacturing workers... at least during campaign season.
Case in point: Former Michigan Secretary of State turned Republican Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land is out with a new 30-second campaign ad touting her “Michigan First Plan” — and specifically, her “Free and Fair Trade Plan.”
What’s in this plan, exactly? Here’s what she has to say:
My plan will save Michigan jobs by ending unfair foreign trade deals and developing new agreements that open up markets for Michigan exports."
That’s it. That’s all she says in the ad. You can watch for yourself:
It leaves us with a few questions. What sort of new agreements would Land like to see? Will she work to strengthen Buy America? How does she feel about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)? Will she work to address currency manipulation by China?
To her credit, Land does offer a few more details on her website, including noting that "unless major changes are made to ensure reciprocal market access in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), this [agreement] should not move forward." But she doesn’t specify what those changes are.
Land also writes that the “U.S. needs to begin using strong enforcement mechanisms against foreign countries that punish American-made products through currency manipulation.” But Land avoids sharing specifics of what those enforcement mechanisms might be.
Let’s be clear: The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) is a nonpartisan organization, so we don’t take sides in Congressional races. We work with politicians on both sides of the aisle who are willing to take real action to support American manufacturing.
Land’s opponent in the race, Democratic Rep. Gary Peters, has the benefit of having built a record in Congress when it comes to trade. Peters repeatedly has expressed his opposition to a TPP agreement “that does not address currency manipulation or reduce or eliminate tariffs on Japanese autos without opening Japanese markets.” He’s also pressed officials such as Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on TPP, and cosponsored legislation to address currency manipulation.
The record is still out on Land, and if elected, she very well might work to fight unfair trade. But as of now, the details of her “Free and Fair Trade” are just far too vague, and it has us worried.
Congressional candidates on both sides of the aisle often make vague promises on the campaign trail, proclaiming their dedication to protecting and supporting American manufacturing while seeking to get elected — only to turn around and sell out workers once they take the oath of office.
We’d love to hear more specifics on trade from Land, along with any other Congressional candidate talking about the issue on the campaign trail. And if we get more details, we’ll happily share them on the blog.