On Tuesday, July 23, Japan officially became the 12th nation to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Japan is the second-largest economy to tie its trade policy to the terms of the super-secret multinational agreement.
With the entry of Japan, the TPP now covers “nearly 40 percent of the global economy.”
The announcement of Japan’s participation in the U.S.-led TPP negotiations couldn’t have come at a worse time for America’s domestic auto industry, however.
As The New American reported earlier this week, the city of Detroit filed for Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy. The car companies that call the Motor City home were quick to denounce the federal government’s entry into any trade agreement with their decades-long competitor, Japan.
In an article published on Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal, autoworkers’ worries were summarized:
Some 80,000 auto workers from Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. signed a petition criticizing Japan for what they called its “closed” market for cars, according to the American Automotive Policy Council, an alliance to promote international trade and economic policies.
Rep. Sandy Levin, the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a speech Tuesday that any elimination of tariffs on car imports into the U.S. should be tied immediately to the “opening of the Japanese auto market.” An immediate connection between U.S. duties and access to the Japan car market is better than a phased tariff elimination envisioned in the TPP, he said.
Mr. Levin also backed ensuring that trade agreements include a means of taking action against countries that manipulate their exchange rates.
In the petition published by the American Automotive Policy Council, the representatives for the autoworkers spell out their opposition to Japan’s decision to join the TPP negotiations.
“Through petitions, that will begin arriving today, tens of thousands of hourly and salaried employees at Chrysler, Ford and General Motors urged Congress to strongly oppose completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with Japan at this time unless currency disciplines and non-tariff barriers are addressed,” the statement reads.
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