INDIANAPOLIS – Congressman Rokita bragged that he “paves the way” for new bad trade deals while supporting deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the massive, pan-Asian free trade agreement that could have served as a backdoor deal with China. He also once claimed that “trade is good for Indiana and America,” a stance much different from the one he has been campaigning on.
In 2015, as the debate over TPP raged in Congress, Congressman Rokita issued a press release in which he claimed to have “helped lead passage of” the “Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015,” which “paves the way for international free trade agreements.” The Trade Priorities Act, better known as Trade Promotion Authority or “fast-track,” relinquished Congress’ constitutional authority to oversee the negotiation of trade deals.
Indeed, the trade deal that Congressman Rokita was likely paving the way for was a trade deal with China. Because of the TPP’s weak “Rules of Origin” requirements, the deal was often referred to as a backdoor deal with China, as many goods imported from other nations under the terms of the TPP could actually be made up primarily of Chinese parts. Those rules were even weaker in the automotive sector, endangering Indiana’s crucial auto industry. “Approval of the TPP would only make it easier for China to expand exports to the U.S., resulting in growing TPP trade deficits and job losses,” the Economic Policy Institute wrote in 2016.
Congressman Rokita’s support for TPP goes far beyond press releases, however. He voted repeatedly in favor of the deal, including supporting the fast track proposal that sought to make it easier to grant Asian nations easier access to Chinese goods. That vote came just months before Marujun announced it would lay off 765 Hoosier workers and shift production to Japan.
This release is part of Trade Madness, a three-week long series in which the IDP is highlighting Congressmen Messer’s and Rokita’s and Rep. Braun’s mad record of supporting disastrous trade deals and policies that make it easier to ship Hoosier jobs overseas.