Congressman Dan Kildee: Failure to Adopt Currency Manipulation Amendment Hurts American Business, Risks American Jobs

June 11, 2015

Kildee/Clawson Amendment to Crack Down on Currency Manipulation by Foreign Countries Voted Down Despite Bipartisan Support

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) and Rep. Curt Clawson (FL-19), in an effort to protect American jobs and boost American exports, proposed holding countries seeking to enter new trade agreements with the U.S. accountable for unjust currency manipulation practices. However, their bipartisan amendment – supported by Democrats and Republicans – was voted down in the Rules Committee late last night.

Countries such as Japan, which are currently negotiating new trade deals in secret with the U.S., continue to manipulate the value of their currency in order to decrease the cost of their own exports around the globe. Unfortunately, the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) that is being considered in Congress fails to crack down on countries who are deliberately manipulating the value of their currency, which in turn places an unfair competitive advantage against American workers and costs American jobs.

“Failing to adopt strong, enforceable currency manipulation provisions stacks the deck against American workers and means that more American jobs will be shipped overseas,” Congressman Kildee said. “Michigan has already seen the devastating effect of such unfair policies and trade deals – we’ve lost tens of thousands of jobs due to past trade deals like NAFTA. America has the best workers in the world, but we cannot expect them to compete on an unfair playing field against countries like Japan who continue to deliberately manipulate the value of their currency.”

The Clawson-Kildee amendment, which mirrors the Stabenow/Portman Senate amendment narrowly defeated in the U.S. Senate last month, would have ensured that the U.S. has the tools to address and end currency manipulation by other countries in any new trade deal, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The Clawson-Kildee amendment would have directed U.S. trade negotiators to include strong and enforceable rules to prohibit currency manipulation and to hold participating countries accountable to International Monetary Fund standards.

The United Auto Workers (UAW), Communications Workers of America (CWA), the AFL-CIO, and the Ford Motor Company supported the Clawson-Kildee amendment.

According to a report by the Economic Policy Institute, the U.S. has lost hundreds of thousands of jobs to other countries because past free trade agreements did not include provisions that addressed currency manipulation. According to the analysis, the U.S. trade deficit with Japan is in part attributable to currency manipulation and has “displaced 896,600 U.S. jobs” in 2013 alone. The report goes on to say that several countries in the proposed TPP deal – including Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan – are “well known” currency manipulators.

C. Fred Bergsten, a highly regarded economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, has also estimates that currency manipulation has impacted the U.S. trade deficit to the tune of several hundred billion dollars per year – meaning jobs losses in the U.S.