Friday, July 11, 2014

Reps DeLauro, Tonko, and 12 Other Democrats Claim USTR Uses "Cooked Data" to Justify Trade Deals

Yesterday, U.S. Representatives Rosa DeLauro (Dem., Conn.) and Paul Tonko (Dem., N.Y.) led 12 of their colleagues in calling for the Office of the United States Trade Representative ("USTR") to stop using inaccurate data while making their case for future Free Trade Agreements ("FTAs"), including the Trans-Pacific Partnership ("TPP").

The USTR currently relies upon a set of export data from the Census Bureau that fails to reflect the reality that NAFTA as well as recent trade agreements have resulted in a loss of American jobs and negatively affected the U.S. trade balance. This data recognizes "re-exports," or goods that are imported from a foreign country then immediately exported to another, as an authentic American export. For example, a product made in Canada, sent to the U.S., and then shipped to Japan would be counted as a U.S. export.

The distorted trade data artificially inflates U.S. export levels and minimizes the nation’s trade deficit. Labeling these products as exports downplays the harm that recent FTAs have done to the U.S. trade balance, and fails to present an argument to the public and their Representatives in Congress when debating the merits of future FTAs and the impact they will have on domestic jobs and the economy.

Many of the same representatives previously questioned USTR’s claims suggesting that the United States enjoys a trade surplus with its North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA") partners. The only response they received from the USTR’s office came months later and provided no answers.

Clients of Agathon Associates and subscribers to Agathon Associates' Trade Advisor Service may read the House Democrats letter to USTR by CLICKING HERE. You will need to enter your username and password. If you do not know your username and password email David Trumbull at

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