Following today's Senate Finance Committee hearing on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Finance Committee Member and Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, called for additional hearings to allow those who have serious concerns about the agreement to express their views. Stabenow said more hearings are needed to get the perspective of the American auto industry, many agriculture leaders, and others who have raised legitimate points about how the inclusion of Japan into the trade agreement could hurt the U.S. economy if Japan does not end anti-competitive barriers to trade.
"I appreciate that today's hearing was held to examine the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations. Now more hearings are needed so that those who have concerns with the agreement can have a voice as well," Stabenow said. "The challenges of negotiating a truly fair and effective trade agreement with Japan are immense. Japan systematically blocks American automobiles from its markets with anti-competitive trade barriers, which drives up our trade deficit, increases our budget deficit, and costs us jobs. There are many people who work in the American auto industry, agriculture and other industries who have a different perspective about Japan's entry into the negotiations and they deserve to be heard."
Sen. Stabenow has been in close contact with the U.S. Trade Representative throughout negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership to express her strong concerns about Japan illegally closing their market to American automobiles.
Japan's efforts to illegally block American cars have led to Japan exporting 120 automobiles into our country for every one American vehicle they allow into their market. Japan's barriers to American automobiles include currency manipulation, onerous vehicle certification for imported cars that Japanese-made vehicles don't have to undergo, zoning laws that make it difficult to establish new dealerships if they carry foreign-made cars, and government incentives that only benefit Japanese cars.
The U.S. trade deficit with Japan is $76 billion, making our trade deficit with the country higher than any other nation except China.
Automobile and auto parts manufacturing is critical to America's economic recovery. In the first half of 2012, the industry accounted for 30% of America's total economic growth. U.S. automakers have created a quarter million American jobs since 2009.