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Congressman Tim Ryan

Representing the 13th District of Ohio

Representatives Tim Ryan and Marcy Kaptur Call on USTR to Check their Math on Trade Deficits

March 20, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Representatives Tim Ryan (OH-13) and Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) spoke at a joint press conference this morning (audio), along with other Members of Congress, to contest trade data being used by U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman to advocate for major trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The group sent a corresponding joint letter to Froman.

“I am dismayed that a Democratic Administration would mislead our Caucus to believe that we have a trade surplus with our Free Trade Agreement Partners. The data that was presented to us yesterday was distorted. There is a clear track-record of these trade agreements gutting the American workforce and industry, and all we ask for is accurate information during the ongoing debate,” said Congressman Ryan.

“Ambassador Froman needs to check his math on America’s trade agreements,” said Congresswoman Kaptur. “Even with numbers padded heavily with re-exports, our trade imbalances have ballooned with every new trade deal, especially in automotive manufacturing. Those imbalances mean real jobs lost and wages cut for America’s working families. This is not the first time a bad trade deal has been sold to Congress and the American people on a failed promise of increased exports and jobs, but it needs to be the last.”

Ambassador Froman has told Members of Congress that the U.S. has a trade surplus with its free trade agreement partners, which is in direct contradiction with U.S. International Trade Commission data showing the U.S. has a large goods trade deficit with its free trade agreement partners. 

Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI) also spoke at the event.

Trade facts for U.S. and Ohio:

The U.S. has a cumulative trade deficit of $9.5 trillion since 1976, equivalent to 47,500,000 jobs lost in the U.S. The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement has led to an estimated 84 percent increase in the U.S. trade deficit with Korea, equivalent to $12.7 billion and nearly 85,000 jobs lost since its ratification just three years ago. In that time Korea has imported approximately 20,000 U.S. passenger vehicles while they have exported more than 460,000, 20 times more than the U.S. is shipping to Korea. 

In the two decades from 1994 to 2014 Ohio had a net loss of 323,308 manufacturing jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the start of that period, manufacturing jobs accounted for 23.4 percent of all private sector jobs. By 2014 that number had fallen to 14.9 percent. During the same period, 139,321 workers have been certified as having lost their job due to imports or off-shoring under the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, a notoriously difficult program to qualify for.

According to a 2011 report from the Economic Policy Institute, 34,900 jobs in Ohio and more than 680,000 in the U.S. have been lost or displaced as a result of the rising trade deficit with with Mexico under NAFTA. A year later the Economic Policy Institute reported that 91,800 jobs in Ohio and more than 2.7 million in the U.S. have been lost or displaced due to our rising trade debt with China.