Business group runs ads deploring lack of currency provisions in trade deal
Contact Kevin L. Kearns: 202-957-9994 (cell); 202-266-3980 (office)
Washington, DC. November 30, 2015. The U.S. Business and Industry Council (USBIC) announced today the start of a media campaign to highlight the lack of enforceable currency provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The group, which represents domestic manufacturers, many seriously hurt by currency cheating, has initiated a series of print ads appearing in major media serving Capitol Hill.
USBIC President Kevin L. Kearns explained the reason for the ad buys in Politico, The Hill, and Roll Call: "We want to remind Congress that President Obama completely ignored their request for strong, enforceable currency measures in the TPP. Bipartisan majorities of both houses have consistently demanded action on currency cheating. Clear negotiating instructions on currency were included in the Trade Promotion Authority legislation. However, the president chose to frustrate the will of Congress by relegating currency cheating to a TPP side letter that contains no enforceable provisions and instead calls for more meaningless chit-chat diplomacy on the issue. Congress now has the chance to show that it meant what it said about currency cheating in a recorded vote by rejecting the TPP.
The full-color ads contrast the massive length of the TPP deal (which runs to 5,544 pages) with the lack of even a single sentence containing effective currency measures. The ads conclude by asking Members of Congress how they would explain a vote for this "job-destroying deal" to their constituents.
As background, in June 2013, 230 House Members signed a letter to the president noting that "Undervalued exchange rates allow other countries to boost exports of their products and to impede exports of ours." The letter urged the inclusion of "currency disciplines" that would "bolster our ongoing efforts to respond to these trade-distorting policies." In September 2013, 60 Senators signed a similar letter calling for "strong and enforceable foreign currency manipulation disciplines." The Members of Congress followed up their letters by calling for enforceable currency provisions in the negotiating instructions contained in June 2015 Trade Promotion Authority legislation.
Kearns says the TPP offers a clear election-year litmus test of where Members stand on supporting America's middle class and American manufacturing. "If Congress could agree so unequivocally on the necessity for including enforceable currency measures, then they know instinctively that the TPP, which doesn't contain even one, is a raw deal for America. Voters understand this point well, and they'll be watching to see how their Members handle this crucial test."
The U.S. Business and Industry Council (USBIC) has been representing domestic U.S. manufacturers since 1933.