WASHINGTON, DC – The Communications Workers of America opposes the entry of Japan into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.
Japan’s entry would cause the loss of tens of thousands of U.S. jobs, further damaging an already weak U.S. economy. Japan is the second largest source of the U.S. trade deficit after China, and given the nation’s experience with other trade agreements, Japan’s entry into the TPP would make this trade deficit even worse.
Japan’s history of currency manipulation would further exacerbate this trade deficit if allowed to continue. For example, just in the six-month period, from September 2012 to March 2013, the yen has been devalued by 21 percent, making Japanese exports to the U.S. cheaper and imports from the U.S. even more expensive.
Furthermore, Japanese automakers in the U.S. routinely violate global standards on workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively.
Before Japan can even be considered for TPP membership, it should meet certain standards. The Japanese government should ensure that Japanese automakers in the United States fully honor the labor standards set by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Global Compact, and it must allow a fair, democratic process for workers to decide on union representation. In addition, the U.S. Trade Representative should adopt a new approach to non-tariff trade barriers, including breaking down the obstacles that prevent significant access to Japan’s market for U.S. goods – especially automobiles – and addressing Japan’s history of trade manipulation.
CWA will support fair trade agreements that create good jobs and end off-shoring; include strong, enforceable and internationally recognized protections for labor rights and the environment; protect worker and consumer health and safety; reignite the American economy; improve our quality of life; and defend the sovereignty of the United States and other nations against attacks by multinational corporations. As it stands now, the inclusion of Japan in the TPP negotiations will undermine, not enhance, these objectives.