Ohio senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman met with the President Tuesday to discuss issues affecting Ohio workers. Among the list of priorities were the steel and trade issues that could hurt Ohio manufacturing jobs.
In a press conference to journalists Wednesday, Sen. Brown said he would work to make the state’s workers a priority in all trade conversations.
“We’ve seen what we can achieve for Ohio businesses and Ohio workers when we enforce trade rules,” Brown said. “The administration followed calls from Sen. Portman and me last month to stand up for Ohio workers.”
The current manufacturing jobs being focused on are the steel and aluminum industries.
“For far too long, our steel industry has been drowning under a flood of unfairly traded imports that threaten Ohio jobs,” Brown said. Although the steel industry doesn’t directly apply to work in central Ohio, enforcing the laws associated with exporting and specifically the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), would help prevent industries from leaving the state.
Additionally, securing effective trade deals would expand beyond manufacturing into other aspects of production — something which Brown says he would support immediately if included in the legislation.
“If this renegotiated NAFTA is good for workers — and that means farmers, that means industrial workers, it means service workers — if this bill is good for Ohio workers, I will not just support it, I will be the first to support it,” he said.
He added the success of those industries not only impacts the companies themselves, but the economies of the communities they are located in.
Brown has worked closely with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to make Ohio a focus.
“I’ll continue working with Ambassador Lighthizer and this Administration on NAFTA renegotiation,” Brown said. “We can get a better deal for Ohio workers, and if we do, I will help the President get the votes it needs to pass.”
Brown released a four-point plan which he gave to the President to include in the NAFTA renegotiations.
The points include:
• Secure anti-outsourcing and Buy America Provisions up front
• Don’t pit American workers and industries against each other in negotiations
• Build enforcement tools that favor American workers, not foreign corporations if the deal is violated
• Include workers in the negotiations
Reach Michael Williamson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619.
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