Obama Heads to Michigan to Tout Auto Sector Recovery: AAM Statement

Success could be squandered if TPP concerns are not addressed.

President Obama begins his pre-State of the Union swing today by highlighting a key success during his presidency – the auto sector recovery. The Obama administration touts its success in Detroit, but has failed to bring the Big Three’s concerns to trade negotiations.

Commented Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul:

I’m excited that President Obama is visiting Michigan to draw attention to the rebounding U.S. auto sector, the health of which is a point of national pride. This administration deserves tremendous credit for its rescue plan for GM and Chrysler, which put those companies and the entire auto supply chain on sound footing in the face of potential economic doom. But I’m concerned that this same administration appears to be tone deaf to the real concerns of domestic automakers and their workers that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement could undermine their competitiveness.

Despite the fact that majorities of the last House and Senate urged the White House to use the TPP to deter currency manipulation by Japan, the president doesn’t appear to take those concerns seriously, much less seem willing to raise them with Japan. If President Obama wants to do right by Michigan and auto workers, he’ll change course on the TPP, and fast.

The Obama administration makes a point of trumpeting manufacturing job gains since the end of the Great Recession. It is indeed the strongest period of manufacturing job growth since the early 1990s. But the administration fails to mention that we’ve only recovered one-third of the good-paying manufacturing jobs that were destroyed in the recession. We still have a long way to go.

America's yawning trade deficit, meanwhile, continues to hinder manufacturing job growth. This morning, the U.S. Department of Commerce released the latest monthly U.S. trade figures. The overall monthly U.S. international goods and services trade deficit hit $39 billion in November, compared to $35.9 billion in November 2013.