Dean Baker with an assessment of the economics in “Fun With Brad DeLong on TPP“:
Brad thinks he has a winner policy with TPP, taking issue with Paul Krugman who says the deal is not worth doing. Brad argues that even if the deal is worth half of the 0.5 percent of GDP figure that is widely cited, we are still talking about 0.25 percent of GDP, or $75 billion a year for the region as a whole and $45 billion for the U.S.
He acknowledges that these gains may not be spread evenly, but wants to see evidence that the losses to workers would be larger than their share of this $75 billion. He also notes Krugman’s complaint about increased protection for intellectual property, especially drug patents, and wants to see evidence that these losses will be large enough to offset the $75 billion in annual gains. Okay, let’s take the DeLong challenge.
Current status of the TPP: The agreement has been negotiated. Now it goes to Congress for an up or down vote. It cannot be amended. In theory, it could get voted down. In practice, I’m not holding my breath.
News and posts:
(Read Parts 1 and 2 here and here.)
Letter from Senator Bernie Sanders to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman dated Jan. 5, 2015 (any transcription errors are my fault):
Dear Ambassador Froman:
Very early this year, the Senate may vote on legislation that would grant the President fast track trade negotiating authority. If this legislation is signed into law, it could pave the way for passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement (TPP) with limited debate and no opportunities for amendments.
As you know, the TPP is poised to be the largest free trade agreement in history encompassing 12 nations that account for nearly 40 percent of the global economy. I have been very concerned that up to this date the text of this agreement has not been made public. The only text I am aware of that has been made public so far has been through leaked documents, and I find what I read to be very troubling.
It is incomprehensible to me that the leaders of major corporate interests who stand to gain enormous financial benefits from this agreement are actively involved in the writing of the TPP while, at the same time, the elected officials of this country, representing the American people, have little or no knowledge as to what is in it.
(Read Part 1 here.)
Robert Reich, Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is a Pending Disaster:
If you haven’t heard much about the TPP, that’s part of the problem right there. It would be the largest trade deal in history — involving countries stretching from Chile to Japan, representing 792 million people and accounting for 40 percent of the world economy – yet it’s been devised in secret.
Lobbyists from America’s biggest corporations and Wall Street’s biggest banks have been involved but not the American public. That’s a recipe for fatter profits and bigger paychecks at the top, but not a good deal for most of us, or even for most of the rest of the world.
First some background. Continue reading
Sign Sen. Sanders’ petition in opposition to the TPP here.
His summary of the TPP:
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a disastrous trade agreement designed to protect the interests of the largest multi-national corporations at the expense of workers, consumers, the environment and the foundations of American democracy. It will also negatively impact some of the poorest people in the world.
The TPP is a treaty that has been written behind closed doors by the corporate world. Incredibly, while Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry and major media companies have full knowledge as to what is in this treaty, the American people and members of Congress do not. They have been locked out of the process.
Further, all Americans, regardless of political ideology, should be opposed to the “fast track” process which would deny Congress the right to amend the treaty and represent their constituents’ interests.
The TPP follows in the footsteps of other unfettered free trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA and the Permanent Normalized Trade Agreement with China (PNTR). These treaties have forced American workers to compete against desperate and low-wage labor around the world. The result has been massive job losses in the United States and the shutting down of tens of thousands of factories. These corporately backed trade agreements have significantly contributed to the race to the bottom, the collapse of the American middle class and increased wealth and income inequality. The TPP is more of the same, but even worse.
From Dave Johnson, Trans-Pacific Trade Talks Resume With Almost No Media Coverage:
Shouldn’t it be a trade violation to threaten to move someone’s job to another country? Shouldn’t we negotiate trade agreements that increase people’s wages on both sides of a trade border? These are the kinds of agreements we would make if We the People were negotiating trade agreements with representatives of the working people in other countries. Unfortunately that is not the kind of trade agreements that our current trade negotiation process produces.
The secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations resumed this week, this time in Washington. TPP is a massive agreement that sets up new rules for over 40 percent of the global economy. It will have profound effects on our jobs, our standard of living now and in the future and our ability to make a living as a country. Oddly, though, as of Monday morning you have to read about it in Japan Times because few-to-no U.S. media outlets are covering it….
Here’s what the Japan Times reported, in “TPP talks get back underway in Washington“:
Chief negotiators from 12 countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership initiative resumed negotiations in Washington after their leaders reaffirmed last month they will conclude an agreement as soon as possible.
Here are a few stories about the media blackout of this important treaty – all in the non-corporate media:
Other things worth reading if you can make the time…
Apropos of Jared Bernstein’s comments the other week, Simon Johnson writing in Economix:
Representative Sander Levin of Michigan, the senior Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over many trade issues, proposed this week that the United States make a significant change in its approach to international trade. The United States is in the middle of trade negotiations that, while still somewhat under the political radar and seldom on the front pages, have the potential to affect the economy – and many people’s jobs – in ways that could be quite negative or somewhat positive.