Bipartisan Senate Manufacturing Caucus Co-Chairs Debbie Stabenow and Lindsey Graham Continue to Press Administration to Address Currency Manipulation in TPP
U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Co-Chairs of the bipartisan Senate Manufacturing Caucus, continued to press for answers from the administration on whether foreign currency manipulation will be addressed in ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement talks. In a letter to President Obama, Sens. Stabenow and Graham reiterated concerns that the most recent round of negotiations did not even touch on currency manipulation, despite the fact that bipartisan majorities in both Houses of Congress support such an agreement and have repeatedly urged the administration to take action.
In September, Sens. Stabenow and Graham led 60 of their Senate colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter urging Treasury Secretary Lew and U.S. Trade Representative Froman to address foreign currency manipulation in the TPP and all future trade agreements. A bipartisan majority of House Members also sent a similar letter.
Despite the overwhelming support for acting on currency manipulation from broad majorities in both chambers of Congress, neither Secretary Lew nor Trade Representative Froman has responded to those bipartisan letters.
In a new letter to President Obama today, Stabenow and Graham wrote:
"Thus far, United States trade negotiators have failed to propose currency disciplines in any TPP negotiating rounds, and our written concerns have gone unanswered. As you know, Congress ratifies free trade agreements, and we expect our concerns to be addressed in a strong and effective manner. On behalf of the 290 Members of Congress who expect foreign currency manipulation to be addressed in our trade agreements, please update us on what is being done to address our concerns."
The full text of their letter is below:
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
Following the conclusion of another round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, we write to reiterate our serious concern that strong and enforceable currency disciplines have not yet been addressed in the ongoing negotiations and may not be included in the final agreement. A well-negotiated TPP has the potential to help American businesses and workers, but an agreement that fails to address foreign currency manipulation could further harm the United States economy by leading to a permanent unfair trade relationship.
Our concern regarding the impact of foreign currency manipulation on America's workers and our economy is not new and is shared by the vast majority of our colleagues. In June, 230 Members of the House of Representatives wrote to you and said "it is imperative that the agreement address currency manipulation." Then, in September, 60 Senators sent a similar letter to Secretary Lew and Ambassador Froman asking that TPP and all future trade agreements "include strong and enforceable foreign currency manipulation disciplines to ensure that these agreements meet the ‘high standards' our country, America's companies, and America's workers deserve."
Thus far, United States trade negotiators have failed to propose currency disciplines in any TPP negotiating rounds, and our written concerns have gone unanswered. As you know, Congress ratifies free trade agreements, and we expect our concerns to be addressed in a strong and effective manner. On behalf of the 290 Members of Congress who expect foreign currency manipulation to be addressed in our trade agreements, please update us on what is being done to address our concerns.
As we stated before, we agree with your goal that TPP should achieve "high standards worthy of a 21st century trade agreement." However, we cannot conclude a truly ambitious trade agreement without the inclusion of strong and enforceable currency provisions. We believe the Administration has had adequate time not only for internal deliberations about such provisions, but also to negotiate them with our trading partners. Likewise, there exists significant Congressional support for including currency manipulation provisions in TPP. We look forward to working with you to meaningfully address currency manipulation and to make TPP a truly 21st century trade agreement.