The TPP or the Trans-Pacific Partnership, is a proposed free trade agreement between the U.S and 11 other trading partners bordering the Pacific Ocean including Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. This trade deal covers a wide range of goods, services, financial services, telecommunications and food safety information.
This will be the United States largest trade agreement in its history. It is even larger than the previous agreement, developed under the Clinton administration, NAFTA which has contributed to the 30 year stagnant wages of the middle class and the loss of many manufacturing jobs that high school graduates in the past, could count on to reasonably provide for the needs of a family.
One major reason for the U.S.to participate in the construction of the TPP is that we want to set the economic agenda in Eastern Pacific countries in stead of waiting on China and India to do this. You notice that when you purchase goods, much of it is made in China and India. After the agreement is enacted, you will begin to see that you are purchasing more items from the countries of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Overall, our President Barack Obama is looking out for our macro economic well being. .
As usual, the devil is in the details. What most Americans are worried about is that there will be a repeat of the negative repercussions that the middle class suffered for years after the implementation of the NAFTA agreement, enacted under a democrat, President Bill Clinton. THIS IS A LEGITIMATE CONCERN!
Because I am convinced that TPP will eventually become a reality, I am concerned about U.S. congress representatives opposing TPP outright instead of attacking the substance of this future agreement. From what I have read, my major critique is that the main increase in pay for workers is for those earning more than $88,000 per year.
Those with annual incomes over $88,000 are not middle class. Thus, there needs to be something that compensates for those earning less monies. The republicans and big business want this trade deal because it is to their benefit and it may well be in the overall national interests of the United States. However, in order to insure the backing of the middle class voters, they will have to include rules that benefit those Americans who earn between $25,000 and $88,000 per years.
TPP promotes regulatory coherence to make trade easier to do. It should
encourage and enable business start ups and expansion, by assisting small and medium sized businesses, so that they can use this kind of agreement (TPP) to take advantage of the additional global trade opportunities.
Personally, I would want the U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and the U.S. Congress Representative, Alan Grayson who both out rightly decry the TPP agreement, to start speaking about the substance. What are they doing to make sure that the real middle class earners of less than $88,000 per year; the small business owners and the American consumers paying inflated prices on medical prescriptions end up being triumphant with the outcome of the TPP agreement?
The best reporting that I have read regarding TPP is from “About News, by Kimberly Amadeo, titled, “What Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership?” The following are some excerpts from her article:
“Current trade between the countries (TPP partners) is $1.5 trillion in goods (2012 estimate) and $242 billion in services (2011 estimate). Once approved, it would be bigger than the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), currently the world’s largest free trade area.”
“The TPP is between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the U.S. and Vietnam. The countries involved are responsible for 40% of the world’s total GDP of $88 trillion, 26% of its trade, and 793 million of its consumers.”
“The TPP boosts exports and economic growth, creating more jobs and prosperity for the 12 countries involved. It increases exports by $305 billion per year by 2025. U.S. exports would increase by $123.5 billion, focusing on machinery, especially electrical, autos, plastics and agriculture industries.”
“The agreement adds $223 billion a year to incomes of workers in all the countries, with $77 billion of that going to U.S. workers. (Source: US Trade Representative, TPP Fact Sheet)”
“Most of the gains in income would go to workers making more than $88,000 a year. Free trade agreements contribute to income inequality in high-wage countries by promoting cheaper goods from low-wage countries.”
“This would be particularly true for the TPP, because it protects patents and copyrights. Therefore, the higher-paid owners of the intellectual property would receive more of the income gains.”
“The agreement regarding patents will reduce the availability of cheap generics, making many drugs more expensive. Competitive business pressures will reduce the incentives in Asia to protect the environment. Last but not least, the trade agreement could supersede financial regulations. (Source: Public Citizen, Eyes on Trade, September 12, 2013)”
The Huffington Post, (not a right wing media tool) published an article stressing the subject of focusing on the substance of TPP versus the issue of secrecy. The blog is titled. “The TPP Trade Talks: Forget Secrecy, Let’s Talk Substance 8/21/13” by Simon Lester and here are some excerpts:
“While transparency is important, these concerns are probably a bit overstated, for a number of reasons. First, a bit of secrecy is necessary to negotiate these agreements; with good reason, governments do not want to give away all of their objectives. Second, looking at other trade agreements that have been signed in recent years, most trade observers have a pretty good sense of what will be in the TPP. Thus, much more is known than the critics let on. Finally, it seems likely that secrecy is not the critics’ real concern. If this agreement secretly said something they liked, we probably would not be hearing these objections. It is the substance of trade agreements that is the real issue here.”
“With the end supposedly in sight, it is time then for a debate about substance: What do we think of the rules that will be in this agreement? Unfortunately, the answer is not always a simple “pro” or “con.” Views on trade agreements may vary depending on the particular aspect of the agreement. Let’s take a look at the likely subjects to be covered.”
“The traditional core of trade agreements is made up of efforts to rein in protectionism. The most long-standing trade protectionism issue is import tariffs on goods. These tariffs have come down a lot in recent years, but they still exist, and the tariff peaks on certain products can be quite high. Lowering these tariffs will provide significant benefits to consumers and a boost to the economies of all the countries involved.”
“Beyond tariffs on goods, liberalization of trade in services will be an important part of the TPP. Services liberalization is much more complicated than free trade in goods, but provides enormous opportunities to open up industries long sheltered from foreign competitors. Some examples of possibilities here include: health care, education, legal services, and insurance. As with lower tariffs, more foreign competition in these sectors would be of great value to consumers.”
“Another area of liberalization is in government procurement. There is a long history of governments using discrimination in procurement to favor domestic entities over their foreign competitors. Buy America laws are a well known example. Discrimination of this sort is no better than traditional tariff discrimination. It leads to governments (i.e., taxpayers) spending far more than they otherwise would, by keeping out foreign competition. And it leads to our trading partners taking similar actions in response, which reduces our own exports.”
“That brings us to a number of very contentious issues which affect trade or economic relations, but are not about free trade as it is traditionally understood:”
• “Strong intellectual property protection rules, such as for patents and copyrights, have been part of trade agreements for many years now;”
• “Provisions on international investment have granted foreign investors the right to sue governments directly in international tribunals, on the basis of broad and vague obligations such as “fair and equitable treatment”; and
• “Many trade agreements include rules on labor and environment that require enforcement of domestic laws and incorporate international legal standards.”
“All of these issues are worth discussing. To what extent should international trade agreements establish “global governance” rules on these issues? Are the specific rules being proposed the right ones? What impact do they have on the U.S. and other TPP countries? So far, this issue has mostly been ignored in the public debate. In the coming months, this needs to be the focus.”
“Most of what is going on in the TPP is not secret, so let’s not get hung up too much on transparency issues. Instead, critics and supporters should talk about the substance… the substance is what the agreement will actually do, and it is what we should be discussing.”