August 5, 2014 at 1:00 am

Michigan First: My philosophy on trade

Land (David Guralnick / The Detroit News)

Trade policies from Washington all too often dramatically harm our state economy and cost Michigan good-paying middle class jobs. Some recent trade deals might have opened up new markets, but at times they did so at the expense of Michiganís middle class.

I support free trade policies. But they must be fair.

Trade drives economic and job growth here in Michigan.

More than one million Michigan jobs depend on foreign trade.

Workers at export businesses make 18 percent more than workers in similar jobs at non-exporting businesses.

Our auto industry is proving that they can compete with anyone when we sign free trade agreements that are fair.

Michiganís exports are growing faster than our overall economy.

For these positive trends to continue, we need to open up more markets for our exports.

I support free trade because it opens up new markets for Michigan products, autos and agriculture. But I will only support trade agreements that put Michigan businesses and workers on a level playing field with other countries.

As your U.S. senator, I will put Michigan first by using a Free and Fair Trade Test to help save Michigan jobs, ensuring future agreements are free and fair and open up markets for Michigan exports.

First, any trade agreement must benefit Michigan manufacturing, automakers and agriculture.

Many past trade deals have disadvantaged Michigan. From intellectual property protections to cybersecurity, agreements should have equal and mutual obligations to compete fairly.

If there are disputes, there should be a process to adjudicate them in a reasonable time frame.

And there should be some basic labor standards, so that American manufacturers and automakers are not at a significant competitive disadvantage.

Second, we must ensure that U.S. products have equal, reciprocal, access to our trading partnersí markets.

The United States should not enter into trade deals in which we face unfair and unequal market restrictions.

Finally, we must ensure currency manipulations do not harm American-made products.

The United States needs to begin using strong enforcement mechanisms against foreign countries that punish American-made products through a manipulation of currency values.

The marketplace should determine the relative value of currencies, not governmental intervention.

When a foreign country weakens its currency, it helps their products at the direct expense of U.S. products. The United States should reduce or limit that countryís access to our markets until the manipulation stops.

In Washington, D.C., there are two foreign trade deals currently being negotiated.

The Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership would give our farmers and businesses new and improved access for exports to the European Union market.

I strongly support the direction of the Trans-Atlantic negotiations, and I am hopeful that a deal can be reached soon, so our friends in Europe can better access our great Michigan products.

On the other hand, I am discouraged by the direction of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.

I am concerned that the Trans-Pacific trade agreement would let exported products from some countries, like Japan, enter the U.S. market easily, but our domestic goods and products would face obstacles entering their markets.

If the Trans-Pacific trade agreement does not ensure reciprocity in market access, it should be postponed.

If other nations will not agree to fair practices, we should not become free trade agreement partners with them.

With these standards in place, trade will be freer and fairer Ė and that means more Michigan products purchased in foreign markets and more good-paying Michigan jobs to supply those products.

My No. 1 priority is growing the economy and putting the people of Michigan back to work.

As your U.S. senator, I will put the people of Michigan first by focusing on the interests of Main Street and protecting our middle class jobs from unfair trade agreements.

Terri Lynn Land is the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate and Former Michigan Secretary of State.

Land is concerned that a trade deal would stack the deck heavily in ... (Charles Pertwee / Bloomberg News)