The United States must avoid undermining Ohio's manufacturing base through a new international trade agreement in negotiations now, Sen. Sherrod Brown said.
Representatives from the United States and other countries are hammering out details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
Brown said he hopes to avoid an agreement similar to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which opponents argue made it easier for companies to ship American jobs to Mexico.
Brown addressed the agreement in a conference call yesterday with reporters. He was joined by James P. Hoffa, president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, along with Ford Vice President of International Government Affairs Stephen Biegun.
Brown also announced a new bill, the 21st Century Trade Agreements and Market Access Act, which would restore Congressional oversight to trade negotiations.
The United States has lost more than 5 million jobs to trading partners through NAFTA and trade agreements with Central America and China, Brown said.
"The TPP is an opportunity to learn from the past," he said. "And that means demanding that our trade partners uphold the same labor, environmental, and human rights standards that we do.
"At a time when too many Ohioans are still looking for work, we cannot sign a lopsided trade agreement that tips the balance against American automakers and workers," Brown said.
The TPP is a proposed trade agreement that would link several countries in North, Central, and South America with countries in the Asia-Pacific. In addition to the United States, the current TPP countries are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam; Canada, Mexico, and Japan have also announced their intent to join the TPP.
Congress has the constitutional authority to regulate trade and commerce with foreign nations. However, for the past several decades, Congress has delegated to the president the authority to select trading partners, negotiate, and sign new trade deals before it votes on the matter, Brown said the 21st Century Trade Agreements and Market Access Act would delegate new authority to the Administration to negotiate new trade deals while re-asserting the role of Congressional oversight into the substance of negotiations, he said.