(Cuyahoga County) - U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown toured Ford Motor Company's Cleveland Engine Plant in Brook Park to call call attention to the resurgent American auto industry.

However, the Ohio Democrat warns that Ford's fortunes may be reversed if the Obama Administration and Congress fail to stop unfair foreign trade practices, including currency manipulation by governments like Japan, South Korea, and China.

As the White House finalizes negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Brown, ford executives, and member of the United Auto Workers are asking for the inclusion of currency provisions in the agreement to protect the American auto industry from unfair trade practices.

“Manufacturing jobs are a ticket to the middle class,” Brown said. “But we must ensure our auto industry and our workers can compete in the global economy. That means saying no to trade agreements that don’t protect American workers and American companies from unfair trade practices. We can’t fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership if it means fast-tracking the loss of American jobs.”

Brown joined Ford Vice President for International Government Affairs Steve Biegun and Mark Payne of the United Auto Workers to discuss how the American auto industry is hurt when countries cheat by undervaluing their currency.

“Ford is a top U.S. exporter, and we can compete with anyone if there is a level playing field. But some countries unfairly subsidize their manufacturers through currency manipulation,” said Biegun. “Enforcing existing international rules against this trade practice is critical to the future of American manufacturing. That is why we are calling on the Administration to include strong and enforceable currency rules in all future trade deals.”

Biegun says Ford is committed to keeping manufacturing jobs in Ohio. Earlier this month, the plant began producing four-cylinder 2.0-liter and 2.3-liter EcoBoost engines previously made in Spain, bringing 450 jobs and a nearly $200 million investment to Cleveland. Following a press conference, Brown, Biegun, and Payne toured the plant’s new engine lines.

Steve Biegun, Sherrod Brown & Mark Payne.

Brown is author of the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act, which he contends 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.

He says 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.

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(All photos by Ken Robinson/WTAM)