Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal is “riddled with problems” and the Obama administration has done “nothing” to resolve the issues.
DeLauro added that the trade deal negotiations are being conducted in secret and transparency provisions have failed to make improvements.
“There are serious concerns on the substance of the agreement,” she said on a conference call. “The agreement does nothing on currency manipulation and abusive practices costing up to 5 million American jobs.”
While TPP presents an opportunity to crack down on currency manipulation, DeLauro said the administration has ignored requests from both parties for stronger provisions to address the problem.
During the conference call, DeLauro cited an estimate that each vehicle imported into the U.S. from Japan amounts to a $1,500 subsidy while American automobiles are locked out of the Japanese market due to excessive bureaucracy and onerous inspections.
“We can’t allow more foreign goods into the United States without opening overseas markets for U.S. products. The administration again has failed to address these legitimate concerns,” she said.
DeLauro also said the agreement could limit access to affordable lifesaving medicine.
“The administration has repeatedly sided with ‘Big Pharma’ to grant even more rights to patent holders. This works against manufacturers of more affordable generic drugs,” she said.
“We can’t sign an agreement that risks raising the price of vital medicines even further. This is a question where there are lives at stake,” she added.
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) said countries such as China use currency manipulation to make their products look less expensive, which creates unfair competition with American products.
“The last thing we want to do is allow companies that want to have access to our markets cheat,” he said. “It’s even worse if the countries where these companies are located are cheating because the message it sends to these foreign companies in these foreign countries is, ‘hey, don’t worry, you can cheat because we’re cheating ourselves as official governments vis-a-vis the United States’ – that’s the worst message you can send.”
Under TPP, Becerra said there is no obligation on the part of the U.S. government to ensure there are enforcement currency manipulation provisions.
“When he [Obama] was in the Senate, he was against currency manipulation, and so we hope he will work very hard to make sure there are enforceable provisions,” he said. “If not, then we’re sending a very clear signal: not only are we going to let companies in these foreign countries cheat, but we are going to let the countries we are expecting to enforce the provisions of the trade deal cheat as well.”
An official agreement was not reached after the meeting in Hawaii wrapped up on July 31.