The increasingly bitter debate over trade and currency manipulation unexpectedly became one of the hot topics at the Chicago Auto Show on Thursday as two industry leaders squared off over the proposed Trans-Pacific Pact, a senior Ford executive warning thousands of American jobs could be at risk.
The agreement would unite a number of nations on both sides of the Pacific Ocean in an effort to reduce trade barriers and expand trade. But the addition of Japan to the proposed TPP has set off fireworks, critics contending that the island nation routinely manipulates its currency to gain a trade advantage.
That position has only been enhanced by the recent, sharp decline in the value of the yen – and the subsequent run-up in profits of key Japanese corporations like Toyota Motor Co. The world’s largest automaker this week announced it had earned $5.2 billion during the final three months of 2013, fully half of that due to the changes in the dollar/yen exchange rate. (more…)