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Upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership Looks Like Corporate Takeover

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Dave Johnson     Permalink
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"One year into the Korea FTA, U.S. goods exports to Korea have declined by 10 percent (a $4.2billion decrease) in comparison to the year before FTA implementation. U.S. meat producers lost a combined $206 million in beef, pork and poultry exports in the first year of the Korea FTA relative to the year before FTA implementation, while the U.S. auto and auto parts industries suffered a 16 percent increase in the U.S. auto trade deficit with Korea. Overall, the U.S. trade deficit with Korea has swelled 37 percent under the FTA."

Just one of many examples in the fact sheet:

  • Imports of cars and auto parts from Korea have soared 15 percent (more than $2.5 billion) under the FTA, driving a 16 percent increase in the U.S. trade deficit with Korea in autos and auto parts relative to the year before FTA implementation.

Also from the fact sheet -- loss of 12,000 jobs:

"The combined U.S. trade deficit with Korea, Colombia and Panama under the FTAs has jumped 11percent above pre-FTA levels for the same months as exports to Korea have declined and imports from Korea and Panama have risen substantially. Using the same ratio employed by the Obama administration, this $2.3 billion combined trade deficit expansion implies the net loss of more than 12,000 U.S. jobs in just the first several months of the new FTAs."

And that's just the recent Korea agreement, and in just a few months since it went into effect.

Trade Can Be Good Or Bad, Depending...

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No question about it, a good trade deal can boost exports, boost the economy, boost employment ... And of course this promise is how these trade deals are sold to us.

But the bad trade deals we have gotten ourselves into have instead boosted the trade deficit, boosted unemployment, boosted income and wealth inequality, boosted the loss of factories and industries, boosted the hollowing-out of our middle class and boosted the domination of our politics by the large corporate interests.

All trade deals have winners and losers. NAFTA and letting China into the WTO were obviously big winners for Wall Street, the 1%ers, and their giant multinational corporations. But these and similar trade deals helped break the back of the unions, the middle class and our economy -- especially manufacturing and its supply chains. The result of these changes has been that all of the gains from our economy as productivity increases have increasingly gone to fewer and fewer people who are higher and higher up the food chain.

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We need an open, democratic process that ensures that We, the People are the winners from our trade deals.

Needed Fixes

The TPP negotiations should not just be negotiated to serve the interests of giant multinational corporations. The process should be opened up to the public and democracy, so people and groups with a huge stake in the outcome -- like labor unions, environmental organizations, human rights groups and consumer organizations -- can participate. With only corporate participation, only corporate interests will be served. Funny how that works, isn't it?

The process of democracy should not be subverted by a "fast track" rule that keeps our Congress from fully considering the implications and effects of such an agreement. "Fast track" just extends the lack of citizen involvement in negotiations into a lack of citizen involvement in the finalization!

Last June 130 members of the Congress wrote a letter to the US Trade Representative asking for transparency in the TPP negotiations and consultation with members of Congress. In addition,more than 400 organizations have asked Congress to replace the "Fast Track" system that limits Congress' (democracy's) ability to get involved in the process, and to call for a new direction for TPP as well as other trade agreements.

We also need strong tests and irrevocable language about withdrawing from the agreement if it is harming our economy, environment, smaller businesses, tax base and/or our working people.

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TPP and all future trade deals must include clear and enforceable rules covering currency manipulation and other ways that countries game the system.

Elizabeth Warren Drives It Home

Watch Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) asking about trends in trading patterns with Korea since the new "free trade" treaty went into effect, and about how TPP looks like an end run around Wall Street regulation.

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Dave has more than 20 years of technology industry experience. His earlier career included technical positions, including video game design at Atari and Imagic. He was a pioneer in design and development of productivity and educational (more...)

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