New Report Examines Portman’s Support For Job-Killing Trade Deals and Sudden Shift on TPP

Innovation Ohio: 14 Trade-Related Deals, More Than 400,000 Ohio Jobs Lost

COLUMBUS — Innovation Ohio is out with a new report today that highlights Sen. Rob Portman’s long record of support for unfair trade deals that have shipped jobs to places like China.

The report, entitled “Rob Portman’s Track Record on Trade and His Sudden Shift on TPP,” examines Portman’s track record of support for all 14 trade-related deals that have come across his desk and his disingenuous, election-year opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Sections and key points:

Portman Has Supported Every Trade Deal That Has Come Across His Desk

  • Rob Portman’s new-found opposition to TPP is sharply inconsistent with his past support for 14 different U.S. trade-related deals that did not include protections against currency manipulation.

  • Portman’s trade-friendly positions and closeness with the Bush family won him the appointment as U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in the administration of George W. Bush, where he oversaw further expansion of global trade on behalf of the President.

  • Since joining the Senate, Portman has voted in favor of three more trade deals, with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, and voted to give the President fast-track negotiating authority on the upcoming TPP agreement, none of which contained any protections against currency manipulation.

Economic Impacts of Portman’s Support for Past Trade Deals

  • Global free trade agreements have led to increased trade deficits, lost jobs and growing income inequality.

  • The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) estimates that nearly 1 million jobs were lost as a result of NAFTA in its first 10 years.

  • In Ohio, taking into consideration both the jobs created by increased exports and lost because of imports, the state has lost 323,308 manufacturing jobs (or 32.7 percent) since NAFTA.

  • In addition to NAFTA, the U.S. has seen production shift from North America to lower-wage countries like China, who joined the World Trade Organization in 2001 with the support of Rob Portman. EPI estimates that 106,400 Ohio jobs were lost as a result of trade with China from the time after it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001 until 2013.

Portman’s Sudden Shift on Currency Manipulation

  • Portman as USTR oversaw the implementation of trade deals, and in Congress he voted for trade deals with known currency manipulators without the inclusion of such provisions.

  • Portman called legislation to impose tariffs on currency manipulating trading partners “counter-productive,” saying it could “likely not be legal” under the World Trade Organization.”


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