By on August 26, 2015

Trans-Pacific Partnership Circa 2010

The head of the AFL-CIO in the United States is criticizing the current presidential administration for its pursuit of a trade zone in the Pacific that could open up Asian markets to America and vice versa, the Detroit News is reporting.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka wrote the administration a letter saying that a free-trade agreement with countries such as Japan jeopardizes American jobs because those countries may be able to source cheaper parts from outside the negotiated area, according to the report.

“I hope it is not the case that the Canadian and Mexican negotiators are actually holding a harder line than our own government on this issue. But due to the unaccountable lack of transparency from USTR, absolutely critical decisions are being made without our input or voice. Thousands of good American jobs and an iconic American industry are at risk, and we don’t even know what our government’s negotiating position is.”

According to the Detroit News, a free-trade agreement with Asia would be high on Obama’s priorities before his administration ends.

Trumka said there would be no guarantee for American automakers to gain a foothold in Japan if the Trans Pacific Partnership were created.

Instead, he said, the deal would make it easier for American automakers to source cheaper parts from China and Thailand, or other developing nations, which would come at the expense of American auto workers. Under current free trade rules in North America, 62.5 percent of a car or light truck must originate within the trade zone to be tariff free. Mexico, which is currently building nearly 4 million cars a year, would like to increase that to 65 percent. Japan is proposing a 45-percent threshold for vehicles and 30 percent for parts.

The agreement could also end the 25-percent import tax on light pickups, commonly called the “Chicken Tax.”

Automakers have said they’d prefer to renew the Chicken Tax or slowly roll the tax back after years — or even decades.

According to the story, Japan doesn’t place any import tax on American-built cars, and has said they’ve spent billions building production facilities in America — which American automakers haven’t yet done in Japan.

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23 Comments on “Union Leader Blasts Obama on Pacific Trade Talks...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Big guy on the right looks at little guy on his left.

    Thinks.. “Get in mah BELLAY!”

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    FAR GUY ON RIGHT: We were supposed to line up by flag and then I was going to be in the center. What the hell!

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    Nothing stopping Mexico importing cheap parts on behalf of the OEM’s to be used in Vehicles built in Mexico

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      Nothing other than the paragraph above you obviously didn’t read.

      “Under current free trade rules in North America, 62.5 percent of a car or light truck must originate within the trade zone to be tariff free. Mexico, which is currently building nearly 4 million cars a year, would like to increase that to 65 percent.”

      They used to say a twit was someone who exhibited the trait of having things go in one ear and out the other.

      Your problem which you have exhibited for years here on TTAC is that NOTHING even gets into one ear in the first place.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        How about a little bit more intelligence in your comments. Mexico has separate non tariff agreements with individual countries, so they can already trade with countries the U.S.cannot., tariff free, as well as being part of NAFTA . Nothing stopping them importing tariff free to Mexico parts that the U.S. cannot obtain and including those parts in overall production. Not the case for the U.S.
        Obviously the 30% can come from other sources other than NAFTA

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Obama…Union…Trade — and that is just the headline.

    Where is the popcorn!

  • avatar
    dolorean

    “Automakers have said they’d prefer to renew the Chicken Tax or slowly roll the tax back after years — or even decades.”

    Slowly roll the tax back after year or decades?? This stupid tax, initiated by Germany fostering a tariff on imported frozen chicken parts from the U.S. and fueled by the Big Three’s failure to make a decent small car and terrified of the VeeDub, has been on the books since Johnson first took office. The time has long past for this to go the way of rotary dial phones.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    The problems with the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty for Americans run way, way, WAY deeper than this. If you don’t believe it, google up “TPP tribunals” and get ready to drop your dentures.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    I loathe the sensational political headlines with these stupid buzzwords. Blasts! Scolds!

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      x2.

      Please don’t do this on TTAC.

      I have a policy that I use on all websites I frequent. The first time I see a headline with “blasts” I leave a comment saying that I’ll not click on any more headlines with “blasts”. Then I ignore them no matter what the content.

      I encourage everybody else to do the same.

      I make an exception for articles that are actually about explosions and are using “blasts” to describe a physical phenomena rather than a political or social one.

  • avatar
    TomHend

    Both Democrats and Republican politicians are miserable failures, don’t fall for the red state/blue state nonsense, we are a ruled by one party-the Oligarchs.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Richard Trumka is the kind of guy who gives the term “Blue Collar” all of its negative connotations, and symbolizes the armies of belligerent, uneducated, thuggish, safety-in-numbers bums that chased the steel industry out of Pittsburgh and ran the Big 3 into the ground.

    My dad did outplacement and career counseling work for 30 years trying to help guys like this find new jobs in the wake of one factory closure after another, and it was ALWAYS the same story.

    He was never able to convince any of them that this time, the mill was NEVER going to reopen.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      For the record: The steel industry left Pittsburgh for one reason only, it was cheaper to build new factories in other states than continue to pay higher wages for less efficient factories. It was union-busting and newer cheaper factories. It had zero to do with competitiveness and everything to do with managing a higher profit margin for the corporation. It’s really the issue with most industrial cities, when the factories get so old they simply find it cheaper to up and leave.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “Richard Trumka…symbolizes the armies of belligerent, uneducated, thuggish, safety-in-numbers bums..”

      Few such bums I worked with in dilapidating WWI-era steel facilities received law degrees. He may lead some classic industrial morlocks but he neither “symbolizes” nor epitomizes them, which may have been a better word to choose had you a larger vocabulary.

  • avatar
    cwallace

    “…and we don’t even know what our government’s negotiating position is.”

    Don’t sweat it, ace- our government doesn’t know what government’s negotiating position is, either.

  • avatar
    Rday

    just more baloney from the baloney kings. Do away with the uaw and make things an open shop and maybe these companies will start to build more plants here. Remember that Denial is not a river in Africa.

  • avatar

    In the words of Rahm Emanuel, spoken during the auto company crisis, “Fu*k the UAW!”

  • avatar
    stuki

    “Instead, he said, the deal would make it easier for American automakers …”

    Now, why would a US trade represent ever want to make things easier for Americans…..

    The Road to Hell is paved with fat pensions….

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