Government

Ryan, Colleagues Dispute Administration Trade Data

WASHINGTON — Ohio U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan and Marcy Kaptur, joined by other members of Congress yesterday, contested data used by U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman to advocate for major trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The legislators, who spoke at a news conference Thursday morning, sent a joint letter to Froman expressing their dismay that a Democratic administration would “mislead our caucus to believe that we have a trade surplus” with free trade agreement partners.

Froman told members of Congress that the United States has a trade surplus with its free trade agreement partners, which is in direct contradiction with U.S. International Trade Commission data showing the country has a large goods trade deficit with its free trade agreement partners, according to a statement issued by Ryan’s office.

“The data that was presented to us was distorted. There is a clear track-record of these trade agreements gutting the American workforce and industry, and all we ask for is accurate information during the ongoing debate,” Ryan, D-13, said.

The United States has a cumulative trade deficit of $9.5 trillion since 1976, equivalent to 47.5 million jobs lost, according to the news release. The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement has led to an estimated 84% increase in the U.S. trade deficit with Korea, equivalent to $12.7 billion and nearly 85,000 jobs lost since its ratification just three years ago. In that time Korea has imported approximately 20,000 U.S. passenger vehicles while they have exported more than 460,000, 20 times more than the United States is shipping to Korea.

In the two decades from 1994 to 2014, Ohio had a net loss of 323,308 manufacturing jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the start of that period, manufacturing jobs accounted for 23.4% of all private sector jobs, falling to 14.9% by 2014. During the same period, 139,321 workers have been certified as having lost their job due to imports or off-shoring under the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.

“Ambassador Froman needs to check his math on America’s trade agreements,” Kaptur, D-9, said. “Even with numbers padded heavily with re-exports, our trade imbalances have ballooned with every new trade deal, especially in automotive manufacturing. Those imbalances mean real jobs lost and wages cut for America’s working families.

“This is not the first time a bad trade deal has been sold to Congress and the American people on a failed promise of increased exports and jobs, but it needs to be the last,” she continued.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.