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Ohio senator introduces bill to prevent loss of auto jobs

Detroit News – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio is introducing legislation aimed at  preventing a new Pacific trade agreement from harming auto employment.

Brown, a Democrat, introduced a new bill, the 21st Century Trade Agreements  and Market Access Act, to “ensure that American trading partners play by the  same rules as the U.S,” Brown said.

International Brotherhood of Teamsters President Jim Hoffa — on a conference  call with Brown and a Ford Motor Co. trade executive — said the administration  should be careful about new trade agreements, saying the 1.4 million members  will put “pressure on the administration for a good agreement that opens  markets.”

“We are losing the war on trade,” Hoffa said, saying free trade deals with  Canada, Mexico, Panama, Korea and others “have all been disasters for jobs.”

This month, Canada and Mexico have been invited to join the Trans-Pacific  Partnership free-trade talks, leaving only Japan among major nations that have  unsuccessfully sought to join the talks.

The talks are aimed at creating one of the largest free-trade zones in the  world.

In addition to the United States, the other nations in the talks are  Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and  Vietnam.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said this month he doesn’t  support including Japan in the free-trade talks, a spokeswoman said.

Ford vice president of international government affairs Stephen Biegun said  the company is reviewing the Brown bill, but supports efforts to make sure trade  agreements are fair. Biegun says the reports that Brown would require more data  about trade would help.

“It is just simply wrong the decision to put in that discussion a country  which is demonstrably protected and closed to American exports,” Biegun  said.

U.S. automakers are sharply opposed to allowing Japan into the Trans-Pacific  Partnership talks. They argue that the Asian nation hasn’t done enough to open  its market to U.S. auto exports, but they support allowing Mexico and Canada  into the talks. Both are home to large numbers of automakers.

 

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