TP the TPP: Good, Bad and Ugly

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The Good

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is billed as a 21st century trade agreement that will expand economic opportunity for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses. TPP is on track to be the largest international trade agreement with promises to boost economic growth, support American jobs, and grow Made-in-America exports to some of the most dynamic and fastest growing countries in the world.

The TPP seeks to provide new and meaningful market access for American goods and services and all the while setting high-standards for trade such as enforcing fundamental labor rights that will level the playing field for American workers and businesses by building strong and enforceable labor standards. The TPP pledges to create strong environmental protections by negotiating for robust environmental standards and commitments from member countries and addressing some of the region’s most pressing regulations to help US companies engage in and benefit from increased trade with Asia.

Gosh, that sounds great! So what’s not to like?

The Bad

The problem lies in the fast-track authority that is being sought by the President. Should Congress vote to give the authority to the President, it will allow him to ink the deal before Congress has thoroughly reviewed and approved its terms. This is one characteristic that may make it hard for the agreement to live up to its hype.

As with most policies, the devil is in the details. If the details are approved before they are fully vetted, it is all the more likely that crucial details will be missed. Although the TPP promises much, it is more likely that it will not deliver on those promises much like trade agreements of the past. (i.e. NAFTA)

The Ugly

Study after study has shown that past trade agreements have hurt both US jobs and exports thereby increasing the trade imbalance. The economic failures of these agreements is only surpassed by the increased corporate profits at the expense of American workers, their families and the environment.

Although the negotiations are secret, we now know (because of Wiki and other leaks) that like those past agreements, the TPP includes provisions that make it easier for corporations to send jobs overseas and undermine US wages by making Americans compete with workers making much less. Big corporations and Wall Street bankers are negotiating for stronger international protections of their intellectual property and other assets, rules that secure and extend their patents, trademarks, and copyrights abroad, and protect their global franchise agreements, securities, and loans. They are also negotiating for less protection of consumers, workers, small investors, and the environment, because these interfere with their profits. So they’ve been seeking trade rules that allow them to override these protections.

If Congress, whose job it is to review treaties before they vote on their approval, does not have the opportunity to conduct due diligence, how will the American people be able to? The TPP benefits the big corporations and Wall Streeters who want to circumvent regulations that protect workers, consumers, and the environment all the while generating more profits for their businesses. This is another bad deal for Americans and Congress should vote “no” on fast-track authority and take the time to thoroughly review the agreement to protect the American public.

If you have 2:26, watch this video and find out more about how the TPP is a Trojan Horse that will hurt the majority of Americans. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/trans-pacific-partnership_b_6585028.html.

 

Resources:

http://www.citizen.org/documents/memo-trade-and-us-income-inequality.pdf

http://www.citizen.org/trade-myths

http://www.peaceandjustice.org/why-the-trans-pacific-partnership-agreement-is-a-pending-disaster/

http://www.iie.com/publications/pb/pb14-2.pdf

http://billmoyers.com/2015/01/20/sotu-schizophrenia-middle-class-jobs-vs-fast-track-tpp/

Fred Frost is a member of the Communication Workers of America.

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