Photo courtesy Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy

SEN. BROWN STATEMENT ON ADVANCEMENT OF U.S. – KOREA TRADE DEAL

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) issued the following statement upon news that the U.S. and South Korean negotiators have reached an agreement on a bilateral free trade agreement:

“I continue to believe it is a dangerous mistake to pursue the same kind of trade deals that ballooned our deficit and led to massive job loss. We simply cannot keep barking up this tree as American companies fold and American workers face prolonged unemployment. Until we address China’s manipulation and make decisions to reduce our trade deficit, I see no reason to pursue more NAFTA-style free trade agreements.

I appreciate the work Ambassador Kirk and his negotiators have put into achieving a more level playing for American autoworkers and manufacturers in the U.S. – Korea agreement. I’m encouraged that the Administration insisted on meaningful changes for automakers. When this deal is final, it will also need to be examined alongside the European Union-Korea trade agreement which achieved limitations on duty drawback provisions, allowing the Korean government to refund the tariffs its automakers pay on imported parts, including those from China. The EU-Korea deal also does not include the harmful investor-state provisions which I have worked for years to reform in our trade agreements.

President Obama is trying to modernize U.S. trade policy and make the process more transparent and inclusive. Looking ahead, I will continue to work with the Administration on new agreements, especially the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as we try to rebuild a consensus on trade policy.”

Brown is considered one of Congress’ leading voices on trade issues. He is the author of the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development, and Employment (TRADE) Act, legislation which would require a review of existing trade agreements, provide an opportunity to renegotiate existing trade agreements, and outline principles of what should be included in future trade agreements. The legislation also calls for the role of Congress in trade policymaking to be strengthened. He also introduced the Trade Enforcement Priorities Act, legislation that would give the federal government more authority to address trade barriers that undermine American workers and domestic manufacturing. This includes the reinstatement of “Super 301″ authority, which allows the U.S. Trade Representative to enforce trade laws that promote domestic manufacturing and job creation.