June 5, 2015

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106 

WASHINGTON (June 5, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson reminded members of the U.S. House of Representatives that the 113-year old organization and its 200,000 family farmer and rancher members remain steadfastly opposed to the passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).

“As the House of Representatives considers this impactful piece of legislation, I encourage you to consider the impacts that trade agreements have had on the domestic economy and vote “no” on TPA,” said Johnson in a letter sent this morning.

Johnson noted that in agreements of this magnitude, the overall trade deficit must be considered. “Past trade agreements have served to increase the trade deficit. For thirty years and after several free trade agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement and the U.S.-Korea Trade Agreement, the U.S. has grown a significant trade deficit. In 2014, the trade deficit increased to $505 billion, representing nearly 3 percent of GDP and slowing growth of the U.S. economy,” he said.

Johnson reminded House members that a major factor impacting the trade deficit is currency manipulation. “Several countries involved in the TPP negotiations are known currency manipulators including Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan. The U.S.-Japan trade deficit reached nearly $80 billion in 2013, and currency manipulation was the most significant cause of the deficit,” he added.

Johnson also pointed out that recent reports indicate that China may want to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership. “China is the largest currency manipulator in the world, and our trade deficit with China was over $343 billion in 2014. If currency manipulation is not addressed in TPA, the opportunity to deal with it in any meaningful way will likely be lost.”

Johnson cited estimates from The Economic Policy Institute that the trade deficit with Japan resulted in 896,600 jobs eliminated in the U.S, in nearly every congressional district and the trade deficit with China cost 3.2 million jobs between 2001 and 2013. “Job losses due to the trade deficit are a primary concern of NFU. Many farmers rely on off-farm jobs to supplement their income. Future trade agreements, including TPP, should directly address currency manipulation and include binding consequences for those that continue to manipulate currency,” he said.

“I urge you to oppose trade promotion authority,” he said, adding, “NFU will be scoring this vote.”

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.


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