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March 15, 2015

House GOP Freshman Might Be Open To Changing Trade Promotion Authority

According to the Coalition for a Prosperous America, just 26 of 46 first-term Republican members of the U.S. House signed a letter to President Barack Obama supporting renewal of fast-track, or Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). (Generally, support for TPA is much higher in Republican circles.) 

The lower participation rate suggests several of these freshmen could be open to altering TPA, including by adding currency provisions. 

As such, MSCI encourages its members to call these members to ask them to support strong currency provisions within TPA legislation. (The Coalition for a Prosperous America link above has a full list of first-term Republicans in the House and information about whether they signed the letter.) 

As a reminder, the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive think tank, estimates currency manipulation reduced U.S. employment by nearly 900,000 jobs in 2013 while the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation found the U.S. trade deficit with China, which increased 12 percent between 2013 and 2014, alone cost 425,000 American jobs. Additionally, the Peterson Institute for International Economics estimates currency manipulation costs between one and five million U.S. jobs each year. 

Meanwhile, according to The Associated Press, to advance TPA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) the Obama administration is mobilizing its allies to push back against arguments that China manipulate its currency. According to the wire service, the administration argues, “It's not clear that China still manipulates its currency. And even if it does, [administration officials] say, the multinational trade talks now underway are the wrong venues for addressing the matter.”