Don’t Drink the Tea. Think With the WE.
Oct
2015
8

Trans-Pacific Partnership Complete. Nations Hold Breath. Clinton Speaks Out.

R.I.P. to all the protest signs out there. You will be missed.

R.I.P. to all the protest signs out there. You will be missed.


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After years of secret negotiations, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is complete and now awaits months of intense scrutiny before being voted on by Congress.  Negotiators of the controversial “free trade” agreement between the United States, Japan, and 10 other pacific rim nations reached a final agreement in Atlanta on Monday. 

Given the “fast-track” authority granted earlier this year, Congress will not be able to amend or filibuster the bill. Instead, a yes or no vote will be held and President Obama will need to spend the upcoming months garnering support for an issue that is becoming increasingly unpopular.  Yesterday, presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton came out against the deal.

In a statement, President Obama explained what he believed to be the rationale of the TPP:

“When more than 95 percent of our potential customers live outside our borders, we can’t let countries like China write the rules of the global economy.  We should write those rules, opening new markets to American products while setting high standards for protecting workers and preserving our environment.”

By law, Congress will not be able vote on the matter until it has seen the document for 30 days and the public has seen it for 60.  A vote is expected to occur in the spring.  Further complicating the mess is that full text of the 30 chapter agreement will not be available until next month. 

Reactions were swift and harsh from opponents, which include other presidential hopefuls, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Sanders was “disappointed but not surprised by the decision to move forward on the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that will hurt consumers and cost American jobs.”  Senator Sanders labeled the TPP a victory for Wall Street, saying: “Wall Street and other big corporations have won again.  It is time for the rest of us to stop letting multi-national corporations rig the system to pad their profits at our expense.”

Ford Motor Company issued a statement opposing the deal, saying, “To ensure the future competitiveness of American manufacturing, we recommend Congress not approve T.P.P. in its current form.”

The Washington Post pulled together more opposition pull-quotes from prominent politicians:

• Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.):  “This trade agreement also has the potential to massively increase the amount of America’s natural gas that can be exported with automatic approvals, which could drive up U.S. prices and hurt American consumers, businesses and our national security. We can have free trade, but only if it is fair trade.  I look forward to robust debate in Congress on this agreement that will impact nearly every American worker and business.”
• Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio):  “Because these negotiations have been done in secret and without meaningful consultations with Congress, it is hard to say exactly what USTR has agreed to in Atlanta.”
• Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.):  “This deal was hatched in secret behind closed doors so I look forward reviewing it and seeing if it’s another unfair trade deal that stacks the deck against Wisconsin workers…. The people of Wisconsin deserve more than the same failed promises from unfair trade deals that lead to job losses.”
• Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah):  “Closing a deal is an achievement for our nation only if it works for the American people and can pass Congress by meeting the high-standard objectives laid out in bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority.  While the details are still emerging, unfortunately I am afraid this deal appears to fall woefully short…. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a once in a lifetime opportunity and the United States should not settle for a mediocre deal that fails to  set high-standard trade rules in the Asia-Pacific region for years to come.”
• Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.): “The administration has put big business first, workers, communities and small businesses last.”.
For more information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, peruse our archives.

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