We learned Friday that U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-OH, has signed onto a letter to federal trade officials asking for currency manipulation protections in U.S. trade negotiations such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The Ohio Farmers Union and National Farmers Union are supporters of the Coalition for a Prosperous America a coalition of manufacturing, agricultural, worker, consumer and citizen interests working at the grassroots to reshape U.S. trade policy that is based on roughly balanced trade among nations without surrendering sovereignty, damaging the environment or compromising food safety. CPA has been working to gain Portman’s and other federal legislators’ support for measures to reduce currency manipulation by other countries. Ohio Farmers Union past-President Joe Logan serves on the CPA Board of Directors Executive Committee. John Hansen, president of the Nebraska Farmers Union is also a member of the CPA board.
Currency manipulation is an important component of turning around the U.S. negative trade balance. Nations like China and Japan purposefully lower the value of their national currencies making products produced in their countries essentially discounted on world markets versus those manufactured in the United States. Ending currency manipulation around the world will not cure the U.S. trade problem on its own, but it is a reversible competitive disadvantage for U.S. manufacturers and farmers that can be solved if Congress and the Obama Administration were to make it a priority.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a proposed free trade agreement among among the United States, Japan, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. It would cover nearly all goods and services sectors. The Peterson Economic Institute lists Japan, Malaysia and Singapore as nations currently manipulating their currencies from the TPP partners.