Once again, the White House was trying to push through a trade agreement behind closed doors with no enforceable labor standards. The good news is, this time we put a stop to it.
No one understands the consequences of decades of bad trade deals like Ohio workers.
My values have always been clear: no trade deals without strong, enforceable labor standards – standards that guarantee Ohio workers a real, level playing field.
That’s almost never the case. It’s why I was so concerned with the trade portion of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework that the Administration has been negotiating with a group of countries in the Pacific region.
The proposed trade pillar of the agreement was shaping up to be more of the same: a trade deal with no real labor standards and nothing on trade enforcement. And it’s all been negotiated behind closed doors, without input from workers.
So I made it clear to the administration that the trade portion of this agreement is unacceptable. And they backed off and decided not to move forward on the trade pillar of this agreement.
Instead of negotiating trade deals behind closed doors, we should be working to create a level playing field, so that American workers can compete. Before we can have any kind of discussion about trade with these countries, we need to have stronger rules in place.
We know that China ships imports through many of the countries involved in the IPEF discussions to get around American trade laws. A Chinese company can almost wholly manufacture a product in China, route it through Vietnam, and send it to the U.S. as an export from Vietnam to get around our laws. And many of these companies – some subsidized by the government – do this over and over.
We must work to put a stop to this by strengthening trade enforcement by passing bills like my Leveling the Playing Field 2.0 and my Fighting Trade Cheats Act.
Ohioans know my values and they know where I stand. I’ve fought against bad deal after bad deal, negotiated by president of both parties, on behalf of Ohio workers. That will never change.
Sherrod Brown is the senior U.S. senator from Ohio.