by Gaius Publius
Perhaps you've been reading about the demise of TPP, the Trans-Pacific Partnership “trade” agreement. I put trade in quotes because that's what it's called, but that's not what it is. TPP is, in fact, a monopoly protection scheme (think pharmaceutical patents and intellectual property), since we already have few or no trade barriers with the largest nations that were going to sign it.
Rumors of the death of this agreement have been circulating since the election, and I've been watching them carefully, wondering if by magic the deal would re-emerge. I'm now certain it will not. Some people, like Wall Street banker, Obama cabinet selector, and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, prefer to think the deal's not dead, just sleeping — or in Froman's phrasing, in “purgatory” and not in hell.
It's not sleeping; it's dead. And contrary to rumor, Trump didn't kill it. You did.
Lori Wallach, who is as cautious about this treaty as anyone I know, and as knowledgeable, just sent this to her list (my emphasis):
Statement of Lori Wallach, Director, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch on the Demise of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the Lame-Duck Session of Congress
The news that the White House and Republican congressional leaders have given up on passing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is welcome. That the TPP would be defeated by Congress if brought to a vote signals that Trojan-horse “trade” agreements that expand corporate power and shrink Americans’ wages are simply no longer politically viable. People power beat the united forces of a U.S. president, the Republican congressional leaders and the entire corporate lobby.
The unremitting push by the Obama administration for the TPP right through this election helped to elect Donald Trump, but Trump has not derailed the TPP – people power united across borders did that. Six years of relentless, strategic campaigning by an international movement of people from the TPP countries united across borders to fight against corporate power is why the TPP is all but dead.
Thanks to years of campaigning by people across this country, since its February 2016 signing, the TPP could not garner a majority of support in the U.S. House of Representatives. And it was clear that the TPP was in trouble in 2015, when Fast Track authority for the TPP barely squeaked through Congress.
The TPP’s signing was delayed for years by vibrant civil society movements in other TPP nations that pushed their governments to reject TPP terms expanding investor rights, monopolies for pharmaceutical firms, financial deregulation and other threats. That meant time to organize, organize, organize. Over those years, millions of Americans helped to educate and organize their friends, families, and colleagues to demand their representatives opposed the TPP.
That the TPP pushed by the most powerful forces in the world is not being implemented represents the American public’s resounding rejection of trade policies that not only failed to live up to its proponents’ promises over the past 20 years, but caused real damage to working people and the environment.
The only way forward is to create new rules of the road for globalization that put people and the planet first while harvesting the benefits of expanded trade. And we must roll back the existing “trade” deals and extreme investor-state dispute settlement regime that have caused people and the planet so much damage. The coalition that stopped the TPP is powerful and united and will fight forward to deliver that change. And, we will be ready to take on any attempt to revive the TPP or advance other corporate-friendly trade pacts based on the same failed and outdated model of trade.
For a review of the six-year international campaign against the TPP, please read https://medium.com/@citizenstrade/no-trump-didnt-kill-the-tpp-progressives-did-884b534542d#.175otqc1j
Wallach makes several important points that should not be missed.
One, your opposition to corporate “trade” giveaways to TPP gave Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump an issue they could run and win on. You did that.
And two, Obama's completely understandable but relentless push for TPP in the face of this massive populist opposition helped sink the Clinton candidacy, absent her full-throated opposition to it. The full-throated version never came.
And third, the next job is to roll back NAFTA. Trump has already promised that, using the threat of the Withdrawal Clause, which his team seems to have discovered. From “Donald Trump's Contract with the American Voter” (pdf; my emphasis):
Seven actions to protect American workers:
★ FIRST, I will announce my intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205.
★ SECOND, I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Here's clause 2205 in full, in case you haven't discovered it yet yourself. From the NAFTA text:
Article 2205: Withdrawal
A Party may withdraw from this Agreement six months after it provides written notice of withdrawal to the other Parties. If a Party withdraws, the Agreement shall remain in force for the remaining Parties.
Did you know we could have withdrawn from NAFTA all along? Clinton and Obama both knew it. Then, somehow, that fact was never mentioned again.
But onward, and congratulations! Thanks to you, TPP is no longer resting. It has joined the choir invisible. RIP.
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis