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A Trans-Pacific Partnership Overview

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Shipping containers, Seattle.

More details about the TPP, and more reasons for Democrats1 to oppose it.

Have you heard? The TPP is a massive, controversial “free trade” agreement currently being pushed by big corporations and negotiated behind closed doors by officials from the United States and 11 other countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. The TPP would expand the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) “trade” pact model that has spurred massive U.S. trade deficits and job loss, downward pressure on wages, unprecedented levels of inequality and new floods of agricultural imports. The TPP not only replicates, but expands NAFTA’s special protections for firms that offshore U.S. jobs. And U.S. TPP negotiators literally used the 2011 Korea FTA – under which exports have fallen and trade deficits have surged – as the template for the TPP. In one fell swoop, this secretive deal could:

In one fell swoop, this secretive deal could:

 

Although it is called a “free trade” agreement, the TPP is not mainly about trade. Of TPP’s 29 draft chapters, only five deal with traditional trade issues. One chapter would provide incentives to offshore jobs to low-wage countries. Many would impose limits on government policies that we rely on in our daily lives for safe food, a clean environment, and more. Our domestic federal, state and local policies would be required to comply with TPP rules.

The TPP would even elevate individual foreign firms to equal status with sovereign nations, empowering them to privately enforce new rights and privileges, provided by the pact, by dragging governments to foreign tribunals to challenge public interest policies that they claim frustrate their expectations. The tribunals would be authorized to order taxpayer compensation to the foreign corporations for the “expected future profits” they surmise would be inhibited by the challenged policies.

(click here to continue reading Trans-Pacific Partnership.)

especially since corporate America is so gung-ho for the agreement:

As big a setback as Friday’s vote on Capitol Hill was for President Obama’s efforts to advance his trade agenda, it was an even bigger rebuff for the leaders of American business.

While there are deep divisions over trade policy among Democrats, and to some extent among Republicans as well, corporate America has been nearly unified in its support of a deal that would lower various barriers to trade and investment between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations.

Though many sought to put the best face on the vote, business groups and chief executives were quick to voice their displeasure with the House’s rejection of aid to workers harmed by imports, which could doom prospects for eventual approval of a wider trade pact.

(click here to continue reading Business Leaders React With Dismay to Defeat of Trade Bill – NYTimes.com.)

You Are A Wanderer By Trade
You Are A Wanderer By Trade

But still, the Democrats are to blame, not the Republicans who have majorities in both House and Senate…

Although certainly a minority, a few business groups oppose the trade pact. Unions, environmental groups and many liberals are also opposed. Many critics cited the job losses that followed the signing of North American Free Trade Agreement more than two decades ago.

There was also some applause for the defeat from groups like the American Sustainable Business Council, a network of progressive business organizations.

“The T.P.P. would give multinational corporations unprecedented power to evade safeguards that protect consumers, workers and the environment. It would hurt smaller, innovative businesses,” said David Levine, the group’s co-founder.

While most economists generally support the White House’s trade agenda, some on the left have kept up a steady drumbeat, warning that it has been structured primarily to advance the interests of Wall Street and major corporations doing business abroad.

(click here to continue reading Business Leaders React With Dismay to Defeat of Trade Bill – NYTimes.com.)

Yeah, economists like the NYT’s own Paul Krugman, who isn’t mentioned in this article, but who says he is against the TPP. 

Footnotes:
  1. and Republicans []

Written by Seth Anderson

June 13th, 2015 at 10:28 am

Posted in Business,politics

Tagged with ,

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