Majority of House members want currency crackdown in Asia-Pacific deal

"Incorporating currency provisions in the agreement will strengthen our ability to combat these unfair trade practices and help to create a level playing field for American workers, businesses and farmers."

The charge is led by a bipartisan group of lawmakers including Reps. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) and Sam GravesSamuel (Sam) Bruce GravesOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House approves .5T green infrastructure plan | Rubio looks to defense bill to block offshore drilling, but some fear it creates a loophole | DC-area lawmakers push for analysis before federal agencies can be relocated House approves .5T green infrastructure plan Democrats detail their .5T green infrastructure plan MORE (R-Mo.), chairman of the House Small Business Committee, along with John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Rick CrawfordRick CrawfordRepublicans score procedural victory on Democrats' infrastructure bill The case for renewed US engagement in Latin America Arkansas program that places unemployed guards, reservists in agriculture jobs can be a model for nation MORE (R-Ark.). 

The letter to President Obama comes after the United States and 11 other TPP nations agreed to let Japan join the talks despite strong opposition from U.S. automakers. 

“Japan has a well-documented history of manipulating the value of the yen to help its exporters,” Dingell said. “We cannot allow this practice to continue if Japan is to enjoy the benefits of free trade with the United States. Strong and enforceable currency manipulation provisions must be included in TPP in order to prevent Japan from continuing in this market-distorting and unfair practice."


The letter also was released ahead of meetings between Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping where trade issues will probably be a focus. 

“Over the last couple years I’ve been in countless meetings with USTR and Treasury pressing them to include meaningful currency provisions in our trade agreements,” Michaud said. 

“To date they have done nothing. I’m hopeful this strong bipartisan letter convinces them to finally take action. American jobs are at stake.”

Leading manufacturers, including the American Automotive Policy Council (AAPC), the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) and the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), expressed support for dealing with the issue in the TPP. 

"This letter to the president signed by a majority of the House of Representatives makes clear that there is broad, bipartisan support for addressing currency manipulation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement," said Matt Blunt, president of AAPC. 


"Strong, enforceable rules prohibiting currency manipulation must be included in the trade agreement, but before Japan can be allowed to become a TPP partner, it must establish a clear record demonstrating that its domestic auto market is completely open to foreign competition," Blunt said. 

"Anything less will undermine the economic growth and job creation that the U.S. auto industry is currently driving." 

Scott Paul, president of the AAM, said he wants the letter to serve as a "wake-up call to the administration that a strong, bipartisan group of lawmakers believe that deterring Japan and other potential TPP nations from currency manipulation must be a key part of any agreement."

The letter, which has been collecting support this week said that "undervalued exchange rates allow other countries to boost exports of their products and to impede exports of ours."

"They also contribute to trade imbalances and market access limitations that make it difficult for U.S. companies to compete in foreign countries."

The issue could be raised when Michael FromanMichael B.G. FromanOn The Money: Sanders unveils plan to wipe .6T in student debt | How Sanders plan plays in rivalry with Warren | Treasury watchdog to probe delay of Harriet Tubman bills | Trump says Fed 'blew it' on rate decision Democrats give Trump trade chief high marks US trade rep spent nearly M to furnish offices: report MORE, Obama's nominee to take the helm of the U.S. Trade Representative, testifies before the Senate Finance Committee on his nomination later Thursday morning.

The letter also cites a report from the Peterson Institute for International Economics that shows that a minimum of 1 million U.S. jobs have been shipped overseas as a result of currency manipulation.

"The consequences are not singular to the U.S.; misaligned currencies are distorting the entire global economy," the lawmakers wrote. 

"Including currency disciplines in the TPP is consistent with and will bolster our ongoing efforts to respond to these trade-distorting policies. It will also raise TPP to the 21st century agreement standard set by the administration."

On the Senate side, a bipartisan group of senators reintroduced currency manipulation legislation following the release on Tuesday of the latest trade deficit figures that show a 34 percent jump in the U.S.-China trade deficit. 

This post was updated to reflect an increase in letter signers.