Levin Statement Following Conclusion of TPP Negotiations in Atlanta

Oct 5, 2015 Issues: Trade

WASHINGTON, DC – Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) today issued a statement following the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations this week in Atlanta, where United States Trade Representative Michael Froman announced that the 12 TPP countries have reached an agreement:

“Progress has been made on important issues, with the outcome on a multitude of issues still requiring deeper scrutiny, and others falling short of the results we seek. Removing tobacco from investor-state dispute settlement is a vital and welcome step in allowing countries to protect their public health. There has also been substantial progress with Vietnam and Malaysia in the areas of worker rights as we seek to ensure they comply with the enforceable standards in the agreement. Unfortunately, there is still no satisfactory plan to ensure that Mexico – a country where economic competition with U.S. workers is the most intense – changes its laws and practices to comply with its obligations in the agreement. Changing NAFTA has been a top priority – we cannot miss this opportunity and hope to rely on a future dispute settlement panel to do so. The Finance Ministers’ plan regarding currency manipulation – an issue with a major impact on U.S. jobs – is also entirely unsatisfactory.

“We will need to see the language to understand the full impact of several issues, including the auto rules of origin, Japan automotive market access, investment, environment, state-owned enterprises and agricultural market access. In the vital area of access to medicines, this issue was discussed until the very last hours, and I pressed to ensure access to generic medicines for developing countries, as well as to avoid locking in policies for the United States and other countries that we may one day decide can be improved. During the 90-day notification period, I look forward to an intense period of Congressional scrutiny, as well as the vital period of public release of the agreement’s text. This long-awaited public debate is an important component in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of this agreement. It will also be important to fully consider the various analyses of the impact of TPP on the U.S. economy and middle class jobs.

“Indeed, at the heart of any trade agreement is its impact on jobs and economic growth. But as we have seen during the course of these negotiations, there are new issues that impact the terms of competition, and others that are vital to the integration of the TPP economies. We have to get this agreement right, which is why no one should be surprised if the 90-day period results in additional changes, particularly since many of these issues are the subjects of bi-lateral negotiations. The most important objective is to get the strongest agreement that benefits American workers and the U.S. economy for generations. The role of Congress now is as important as ever.”