Trans-Pacific Partnership- Pros and Cons
By admin May 14, 2015

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In the United States, the Senate is voting to give President Obama fast-track authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP. The twelve-nation trade pact would encompass 40 percent of the global economy and has been negotiated behind closed doors. This free trade agreement with Europe and Asia failed to pass on Tuesday due to the Senate Democrats.


Opponents to the TPP, state that the trade pact would hurt workers, undermine regulations and expand corporate power. While President Obama argues that the trade pact would boost global economy, the Senate Democrats are concerned that it would affect US manufacturing jobs, therefore have not passed the legislation. Obama needs 60 out of 100 votes for it to pass, yet 45 senators voted against it.


Opponents believe trade liberalization is to be blamed for increasing economic inequality within developed economies due to outsourcing. Activists believe that it would take a toll on freedom of speech and cause currency manipulation. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and even Hillary Clinton, who has often been a supporter of free trade and globalization, have been wary of the effect on middle class Americans and their jobs. As quoted by Sanders, “We need to fundamentally renegotiate American trade agreements so that our largest export doesn’t become decent-paying American jobs.” In addition, Warren claims the deal was formulated “in concert with over 500 non-government advisers, 85% of whom were industry executives and industry lobbyists.” On the other hand, lobby groups, such as the Business Roundtable argued that it would support US jobs and spur economic growth.


Not only Democratic Senate leaders, but also economist, Joseph Stiglitz, and New York City mayor Bill DeBlasio have come out in support of the opposition to the trade deal. They stood together at the launch of a report on the TPP, as Stiglitz mentioned that the “trade agreement is another move in increasing corporate power at the expense of ordinary individuals, and that will lead to more inequality.”


Additionally, there are health and environmental concerns. Europe and the US worry that big corporations will be able to override governments through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. A health impact assessment showed that health policies could be affected by the TPP. Some of the areas under investigation include: the cost of medicines, tobacco control policies, alcohol policies and food labeling.


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