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Congresswoman Debbie Dingell

Representing the 12th District of Michigan

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Dingell, Pocan Urge Trump to Address Unfair Japanese Trade Practices in Meeting with Prime Minister Abe

February 9, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – In advance of President Trump’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House on Friday, U.S. Representatives Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and Mark Pocan (WI-02) sent a letter urging the President to address the serious trade impediments facing American manufacturers in the Japanese market. Dingell and Pocan wrote that any discussion of new trade policy with Japan must raise concerns about the trade imbalance between our two nations, currency manipulation and market barriers, which have disadvantaged American workers and manufacturers for decades.  

“While Japan is a very important ally to the United States, these unfair trade practices have had enormous, devastating impacts to the American manufacturing sector,” they wrote. “American workers deserve to have fair access for their products in the global market. It is imperative that the unfair issues listed above are included in any discussion on trade with the Japanese government and we urge you to raise these issues in your discussion with Prime Minister Abe.”

Last year the U.S. trade deficit with Japan was $69 billion, America’s second largest trade deficit. Due to market restrictions, American car manufacturers only sold 19,000 cars in Japan in 2015. During the same time, Japanese manufacturers sold 1.6 million cars in the United States.

Dingell and Pocan have been leading the effort to grow U.S. manufacturing and level the playing field for American workers. In December, they led a coalition of Members from manufacturing states in outlining actions to expand economic opportunities in manufacturing communities harmed by the outsourcing of American jobs. 

The Representatives’ full letter to President Trump can be read here and below.

February 9, 2017

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As you prepare to welcome Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the White House, we urge you to use this opportunity to highlight the impediments facing American exports in the Japanese market.  The story of Japanese market protectionism is nothing new and has been occurring for decades.  Any discussion of new trade policy with Japan must raise the following concerns:

•    Consideration of a bi-lateral agreement should not come at the expense of U.S. workers and manufacturers.  Last year our trade deficit with Japan was $69 billion - America’s second largest trade deficit.  Due to market restrictions, American car manufacturers only sold 19,000 cars in Japan in 2015.  During the same time, Japanese manufacturers sold 1.6 million cars in the United States.  This trade imbalance must be addressed with Prime Minister Abe. 
•    Japan has directly intervened 376 times in the currency market since the 1980s.  Currency manipulation by Japan has resulted in large trade deficits which have displaced hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs. The U.S. should not enter into any trade agreement with Japan without robust, enforceable provisions to prevent currency manipulation.  
•    Market barriers in Japan must be eliminated in order to fully achieve equal market access for American manufacturers.  Japan has used technical automotive regulations as a means to protect local markets by creating excessively difficult and costly regulatory certification requirements. 

While Japan is a very important ally to the United States, these unfair trade practices have had enormous, devastating impacts to the American manufacturing sector.  American workers deserve to have fair access for their products in the global market.  It is imperative that the unfair issues listed above are included in any discussion on trade with the Japanese government and we urge you to raise these issues in your discussion with Prime Minister Abe.
            

Sincerely, 


Debbie Dingell                                                            Mark Pocan
Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress