A top Republican lawmaker is encouraging Republican nominee Donald Trump to get behind the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) following Trump’s Monday economic speech.
House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady reached out after Trump called for the country to withdraw from the landmark trade deal negotiated between the United States, Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim nations.
While laying out his economic plan at the Detroit Economic Club earlier in the week, Trump doubled down on his criticisms of the agreement, alleging it would kill manufacturing jobs and allow other countries to take advantage of the U.S. The billionaire has instead said he largely favors implementing stronger trade barriers — much to the dismay of the majority of his party, which has traditionally touted free trade as part of its platform.
Brady agreed trade deals need to be mutually beneficial, but warned alienating countries that sell products manufactured in the U.S. could have a devastating effect on the economy.
“It’s important Mr. Trump agrees that taking an isolationist approach to trade is unacceptable, because if we want a stronger America it’s not enough to simply buy American, we have to sell American all throughout the world,” he said in a statement provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “And his insistence that China and other trading partners play by the rules, we are right there with him.”
TPP — which has been signed but not yet passed by Congress — has been hailed by a number of economists of both sides of the political spectrum as a win for the U.S., despite it being a major part of President Barack Obama’s trade agenda. The Peterson Institute, a nonpartisan Washington, D.C.-based think tank, projected it would increase income by $131 billion a year and up the number of exports by 9.1 percent.
Trump has insisted the deal be abolished and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) be renegotiated.
“I would advise him as presidential nominee not to withdraw from TPP, because if America abandons the Asia-Pacific field, then China, Japan and Europe will have a huge advantage over American companies when competing for the millions of middle class customers in that region. So America will lose out,” Brady continued. “However, if he chose to strengthen TPP, for example to better protect American intellectual property like drug breakthroughs, that makes the overall TPP agreement a significant win for American technology, agriculture, and manufacturing workers.”
Trump has claimed TPP was “designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage”
That accusation is widely dispelled by a number of trade policy experts.
Brady noted over 90 percent of the country’s goods and services trade deficit is with countries that the United States doesn’t have trade agreements with, like China.
“As for renegotiating NAFTA, it’s important to know two things: America already enjoys a significant manufacturing surplus with our trade agreement partners, including NAFTA. And the proposed TPP will modernize NAFTA so we can sell more American-made products and services into Mexico and Canada,” Brady said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has been vocal about his support of free trade throughout his tenure in Congress, recently said it’s unlikely Congress will vote on TPP before the end of the year.
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