Meetings resumed this week among 12 nations pursuing the huge and hugely controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, this time in D.C. where they have been met by at least some protests.
To briefly recap: TPP has been pursued by the George W. Bush and Obama administrations (although the United States joined the talks after they had been started by other Pacific Rim nations). It is being sold as a deal with “very high standards” on intellectual property. labor and environmental protections.
To opponents, it is a vast giveaway to corporations that are closely involved in the secret talks. That it would cost U.S. jobs and further damage the environment and local economies in all participating nations. What no one disputes is that it would be the largest so-called free-trade agreement since NAFTA.
As I have written before, fast-track authority for the president to conclude the deal and give it a simple up-or-down vote in Congress was not guaranteed when Democrats controlled the Senate. A GOP-led upper chamber would be much more friendly to the agreement, unless it merely wanted to deny Obama a victory.
But TPP remains far from done. It is highly complex and points of contention among the negotiators remain despite years of talks. For example, Japanese farmers remain adamantly opposed. Not surprisingly, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has hardly mentioned TPP in the campaign leading up to this Sunday’s election.
Today’s Econ Haiku:
Who says size doesn’t matter
It’s just plane too big