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Huron County lost 1,275 jobs to foreign competition in 7-year span

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Mar 2, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Huron County lost at least 1,275 jobs to foreign competition between 2005 and 2012.

That figure represented the 16th-highest total among Ohio's 88 counties and was even greater than some counties such as Lorain that have much higher populations.

Those statistics were released this week by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who held a news conference to unveil a new report showing that cracking down on currency manipulation could create 5.8 million jobs in the U.S., including more than 250,000 jobs in Ohio alone.

Brown, who is the lead sponsor of a bipartisan bill that would stand up for American manufacturers by punishing countries such as China that cheat by manipulating currency, urged Congress and the Obama Administration to crack down on currency misalignment.

"We can create millions of jobs -- without adding a dime to the deficit -- by addressing currency manipulation. As our trade deficit continues to widen, our need to level the playing field for American manufacturers and workers becomes more urgent," Brown said. "Ending currency manipulation could create 5.8 million jobs for Americans and more than 250,000 jobs for Ohioans. Congress should stand up for American workers by passing our bipartisan bill that would create jobs by standing up to countries like China that cheat trade law by manipulating currency."

Brown's bipartisan legislation, the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act, would use U.S. trade law to counter the economic harm to American manufacturers caused when countries unfairly undervalue their currency to give their exports an unfair price advantage. The bill would provide consequences for countries that fail to adopt appropriate policies to eliminate currency misalignment -- all without adding a dime to the federal budget.

The new Ohio specific report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that ending currency manipulation could:

* Create more than 250,000 Ohio jobs;

* Reduce Ohio's unemployment rate by up to 2.7 percentage points;

* Create up to 75,900 Ohio manufacturing jobs;

* Increase Ohio's Gross Domestic Policy (GDP) output by up to $17.4 billion; and

* Raise up to $3.7 billion for Ohio and its local communities as output growth leads to increased tax revenues and spending reductions.

The new national EPI report found that ending currency manipulation could reduce the U.S. trade deficit by as much as $500 billion within three years, increase GDP by as much as $720 billion, and create as many as 5.8 million American jobs -- all while reducing the federal budget by as much as $266 billion.

The report concluded that, "ending currency manipulation is the best available tool for stimulating demand for domestic output and ending the hangover of excess unemployment from the Great Recession."

Further, a December 2012 report by the Peterson Institute for International Economics concluded that currency manipulation by foreign governments had cost the U.S. from 1 million to 5 million jobs and increased the U.S. trade deficit by $200 billion to $500 billion per year.

With the Obama Administration currently negotiating provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), Brown urged the president not to support trade deals that fail to level the playing field for U.S. manufacturers by punishing currency manipulators.

Brown also released county-by-county data on the number of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) certifications between 1994 and 2012, obtained through the U.S. Department of Labor.

TAA is a federal program that provides aid to workers who petition and are certified they lost their jobs or whose work hours and wages are reduced as a result of increased imports from foreign competitors.

Here are the job-loss totals and rankings for Huron County's seven neighbors, four of which joined Huron County in ranking in the top 20 among the 88 counties: Ashland, 1,363 (14th); Crawford, 956 (25th); Erie, 743 (34th); Lorain, 1,252 (17th); Richland, 1,175 (20th); Sandusky, 1,328 (15th); and Seneca, 624 (37th).

Brown also released data on the number of jobs that could be created in each of Ohio's congressional districts if global currency manipulation was eliminated.

In the 4th District, which includes parts of Huron and Erie counties, including Norwalk, an estimated 8,000 jobs would be created.

In the 7th District, which includes the rest of Huron County, 7,500 jobs would be created.

Joining Brown at the press conference was Scott Paul, President of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM); U.S. Rep. Sandy Levin (MI-9), who introduced the House version of Senator Brown's legislation; and Dr. Robert Scott, the author of the new EPI report and the Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Research at EPI.

The Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act is endorsed by, among others, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), Coalition for Prosperous America (CPA), Fair Currency Coalition, National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA), Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), and United Steelworkers (USW).

"The Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2013 sends an important message that this nation will no longer tolerate currency manipulation by other governments," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said at the time of the bill's introduction. "This wrongful and unfair practice distorts the global economy and disadvantages countries like the United States that follow international trade rules. The growth of these illegal actions has cost far too many jobs over the past several years. We call on the House and Senate to take action on this issue without delay."

USW President Leo Gerard added: "The bill would put the proper tools in the hands of the Administration and the American people to eliminate this most distorting of unfair trade practices, which in reality taxes products the U.S. wants to sell to other countries, while subsidizing a flood of exports to our shores from China and other countries."

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