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The Detroit Free Press: Ford says trade deal doesn't address currency manipulation
President Barack Obama specifically mentioned Michigan automakers as being helped by a Pacific Rim trade deal which was released in detail on Thursday, but at least one — Ford Motor Co. — complained it still doesn’t go far enough to address currency manipulation.
By releasing details of the long-discussed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) between the U.S. and 11 other nations, the Obama administration set the stage for an eventual up-or-down vote in Congress to finalize the deal but Ford’s statement indicated the fight against it in the industrial Midwest isn’t quite over.
On Thursday morning, Obama praised the impending deal on the online publishing platform Medium, saying it will specifically help Detroit’s automakers and their employees, potentially opening Japan’s auto market to more U.S. competition and reducing international tariffs.
“If you’re an autoworker in Michigan, the cars you build face taxes as high as 70% in Vietnam,” the president wrote, adding, “The Trans-Pacific Partnership will change that.”
But Ford, in a statement released Thursday morning, chastised the administration for not making enforcement of currency manipulation a central part of the agreement, even as the U.S. Treasury noted that member countries made a side agreement to report financial data, in some cases for the first time, and to “avoid currency practices and refrain from competitive devaluation.”
That agreement, which would take effect once the TPP is finalized, would also see member countries agreeing not to manipulate exchange rates or taking other actions to gain unfair advantages over imports, a problem Ford has said has been a long problem in Asia. But the Dearborn-based automaker said the proposal “falls outside the TPP and … fails to include dispute settlement mechanisms to ensure global rules prohibiting currency manipulation are enforced.”
“We appreciate that Congress escalated this priority for the administration,” Ford said in its statement, “but the currency forum (as the process has been referred to) does nothing to change the status quo.”
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, also issued a statement saying that, on first reading at least, the TPP “appears … worse than expected, and the auto industry is among the biggest losers.”
"The agreement's lack of any meaningful protections against currency manipulation means millions of American jobs – in the auto industry and many other sectors – will continue to be threatened by foreign governments who attempt to tilt the global playing field in favor of their industries,” she said.
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