Report: Currency Manipulation Must Be Addressed in the TPP

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Unless Currency Manipulation is Deterred, Every State Would Lose Jobs under the Trans-Pacific Partnership

High Trade Deficit with Japan Already Killing Jobs in Every State and Most Congressional Districts

Washington, D.C. – Weak yen policies and growing trade deficits with Japan have cost nearly 900,000 U.S. jobs, according to research conducted by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

Japan’s currency cheating continues to add billions to the nation’s mushrooming trade deficit. The United States’ trade deficit with Japan and 10 other countries in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – many of whom engage in currency manipulation – has more than doubled from $110.3 billion in 1997 to an estimated $261.7 billion last year.

“We want to export our products, not our jobs,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). “Unfortunately, today’s report calls attention to what we already know—American businesses and workers lose when other countries cheat. It’s absolutely critical that any trade agreement includes strong and enforceable currency provisions to hold our trading partners accountable.”

Currency manipulation is the most significant cause of the large and growing U.S. trade deficit with Japan, EPI reports. In the past two years, Japan has driven down the value of the yen primarily through large purchases of foreign assets. 

“Our workers and businesses could benefit from TPP if the agreement guarantees a truly level playing field,” said Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM). “U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has completely ignored the concerns of workers, domestic manufacturers, and Congress about currency in the TPP. Ambassador Froman is risking the future of the TPP by passing the buck on currency.”

EPI studies further reveal that:
  • The U.S.-Japan goods trade deficit of $78.3 billion in 2013 displaced 896,600 U.S. jobs, with losses in every state and nearly all U.S. congressional districts, while reducing U.S. GDP by more than $125 billion.
  • The 896,600 jobs eliminated included 148,400 direct jobs in commodity and manufacturing industries that competed with unfairly traded goods from Japan.

“History shows us that nothing erodes the benefits of free trade faster than currency manipulation,” said Paul. “We will make sure that Congress and the administration know the consequences of unchecked currency manipulation by Japan: high trade deficits and job losses in every state.”

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