By Sen. Sherrod Brown
We all know that Ohio workers and Ohio manufacturers can compete with anyone. But when a country purposefully manipulates its currency so that its exports are cheaper, that’s not competing – that’s cheating. The result? U.S. exports are more expensive and a deluge of cheap imports flood our markets, costing American manufacturing jobs.
Currency manipulation has cost us between one million and five million jobs, and increased our trade deficit to $500 billion a year.
This is unacceptable. Our state has skilled, productive workers and world class infrastructure. But when a country purposefully manipulates its currency to make its exports cheaper, our manufacturers don’t even get the chance to compete.
Last week, the EPI release a report which noted that, “addressing currency manipulation is the single most important policy change for U.S. workers.”
EPI argues 254,600 Ohio jobs could be created if currency manipulation were eliminated by 2015.
And, EPI found that eliminating global currency manipulation by 2015 would also reduce Ohio’s unemployment rate by nearly three percentage points; create up to 75,900 Ohio manufacturing jobs; increase Ohio’s GDP by up to $17.4 billion – almost four percent; and improve the fiscal position of Ohio’s state and local governments altogether by up to $3.7 billion.
We also know this bipartisan approach to job creation would not add a single dime to the deficit.
It’s clear that we must get tough on countries that manipulate currency.
We do that by passing my legislation – the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act – which would treat currency manipulation as unfair trade subsidy and require the Commerce Department to investigate currency manipulation.
We also must not enter into trade deals that don’t level the playing field for our manufacturers and workers by punishing currency manipulators. Trade matters for Ohioans, and for manufacturers and middle-class workers throughout the country. That’s because when we increase our exports, manufacturers can increase their bottom line. But, our growing trade deficit keeps our domestic companies on the defensive.
And China is not the only country cheating at trade. The Top 20 list of currency manipulators includes China, plus two potential Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, trade partners – Malaysia and Singapore. Ohio jobs can be created—not taken away—when trade laws are enforced.
The best way to move America’s economy forward is to make sure that every American who wants to work has a job. And that’s why the federal government has a responsibility to ensure that domestic manufacturers and small businesses can compete with the rest of the world. By addressing currency manipulation and other unfair trade practices, we can create American jobs and position ourselves to meet the challenges and opportunities of globalization.
Sherrod Brown is a US Senator from Ohio.