Tags: TPP | trade | fast track | president

America's $75 Billion Gift to Japan

By    |   Thursday, 30 April 2015 08:19 AM

At one time, Japanese imports to the U.S. were ridiculed for their poor quality. Well, the joke's on us. The U.S. imports $140 billion worth of Japanese goods today, while we export only $65 billion to Japan.

The difference is that Japan can export goods to the U.S. freely and cheaply. On the other hand, Japan imposes miles of red tape that make it nearly impossible for the U.S. to compete.

Nowhere is this more evident than looking at Japan's hammerlock on the global auto market. The American Automotive Policy Council estimates that total auto imports to Japan from the world measure only 3.9 percent of the market. In other words, Japanese automakers control 96 percent of their domestic auto market.

Japan has consistently exported more than 40 percent of its car and truck production, with the majority going to North America and Europe.

Japan has used automotive technical regulations as a means to protect its local market by creating excessively difficult and costly regulatory and certification requirements, with
little or no safety or emissions benefits.

If you monitor any heavily traveled U.S. highway you'll see a steady stream of Japanese vehicles. If you're in Japan, seeing any American car is about as common as a 1965 Shelby Cobra cruising down Main Street is.

Yet, the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would include Japan, is being castigated by politicians and others who can't grasp the benefits of expanded American exports to this vital market.

The biggest critics are members of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, even while their party's standard-bearer, President Obama, is seeking fast-track authority to launch this important trade agreement. Fast-track authority, granted by Congress, provides to the president the ability to negotiate trade agreements and have them voted in a simple up or down vote in Congress without any amendments.

Once again, trade unions are mucking up the works with their consistently wrong message that expanding trade costs American jobs. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have nothing to fear from global trade except being locked out of foreign markets. Strong exports supported by expanding trade agreements like TPP creates millions of good-paying U.S. jobs.

In particular, TPP would be a boon to the agriculture industry and financial services and address intellectual property issues for the film industry and others.

The Republican-controlled House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee have voted in favor of granting fast-track authority to the president.

One of the ironies of the liberal attack on TPP is that it resembles the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

We should be so lucky! Mexico buys more American products than China and Japan combined do.

So attacking something as successful as NAFTA exposes the ignorance of those opposing TPP. They completely ignore the fact that America already has free-trade agreements with seven of the 11 nations involved in TPP.

You don't have to be an economist to figure out that if we could reduce the $75 billion trade imbalance with Japan, imagine how much money would pour into the American economy and how many jobs could be created with the other 10 nations that participate in TPP.

While granting fast-track authority doesn't automatically mean that TPP will be ratified, at least it gains some momentum and lets the president gain a stronger hand during negotiations.

And if there's any nation that needs to look stronger on the world stage, it's America.

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At one time, Japanese imports to the U.S. were ridiculed for their poor quality. Well, the joke's on us. The U.S. imports $140 billion worth of Japanese goods today, while we export only $65 billion to Japan.
TPP, trade, fast track, president
Thursday, 30 April 2015 08:19 AM
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