Carper Statement on Trump’s Narrow Trade Deal with Japan

WASHINGTON. D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement regarding the announcement that the United States has reached a limited trade deal with Japan.

Last month, Senator Carper and Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), introduced bipartisan legislation, the Trade Certainty Act, that would ensure that presidents – regardless of which party holds the White House – cannot use the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) to impose tariffs unilaterally. In March 2019, Senator Carper and Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced the Reclaiming Congressional Trade Authority Act of 2019 to restore the role of Congress in overseeing international trade matters. The bill would mandate expanded Congressional involvement in international trade decisions by requiring the Trump Administration – and future Administrations – to further analyze, communicate, and justify tariff actions to Congress.

For the past three years, it seems that President Trump has primarily been driven by his desire to tear down smart policies that are good for the American people simply because they are President Obama’s achievements. From the Paris Climate Accord to the Iran Nuclear Deal to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), our President is more interested in simply dismantling the accomplishments of his predecessor rather than building on those successes and securing wins for hard-working Americans.

“His decision to pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership – a historic trade agreement that aimed to lower tariffs for the 12 participating nations while also countering China’s growing influence in the region – was particularly egregious. TPP was a comprehensive, multilateral agreement designed to help American workers and businesses – large and small – compete and win in our global economy. But President Trump foolishly pulled out of that deal and is now claiming victory over a limited trade agreement with Japan that is merely an attempt to cover up some of the negative effects that withdrawal from the TPP has had on our economy and our global competitiveness. This is hardly the win that American consumers, businesses, retailers, manufacturers and farmers – those who have been left hanging in the balance as a result of the President’s reckless trade policy and ongoing trade wars – deserve.

“The narrow agreement announced today meets only a small portion of the negotiating objectives with respect to trade with Japan that the United States Trade Representative sent to Congress last December. Under the agreement, Japan will eliminate or lower tariffs on $7.2 billion worth of U.S. agricultural exports to levels afforded the signatories of TPP. However, 12 percent of U.S. agricultural exports that benefitted from TPP will see no benefits at all from this agreement.  And while the President claims this is a big victory for farmers, many of the trade barriers that were addressed in TPP, but left out of this deal, remain in place and continue to block American farmers’ access to the Japanese market. This deal may be better than nothing, but it is clear that any successes that may come from this trade agreement make up a small portion of what could have been achieved under TPP.

“The bottom line is the President has an opportunity to write the rules when it comes to trading with the fastest growing markets in the world. Today’s agreement falls far short of the comprehensive trade deals we should be fighting for. In Delaware, international trade supports 120,000 jobs and billions of dollars in exports to countries around the world. By promoting free and fair trade, and breaking down trade barriers, we can drive our state and national economy forward, boost the competitiveness of our farmers and manufacturers, and foster a nurturing environment for job growth. That’s why I strongly supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership and that’s why I’ve urged the President to stop picking trade fights around the world and start living up to his claim of being the world’s best dealmaker.”