When negotiators from 12 nations and hundreds of lobbyists from around the world, after years of horse-trading, agreed on a “trade deal” on Monday – a deal that remains secret except for the sections that have been leaked – President Obama gushed that it “reflects America’s values.”
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pries open markets for American goods and services and impose rules on our trading partners that give “our workers the fair shot at success they deserve,” he said.
Similar praise ricocheted around the Pacific from Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Canada, and from politicians and heads of state in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the other participating countries. China isn’t part of the deal, but what the heck.
The free trade deal isn’t actually about “free trade.” Many provisions that have been leaked deal with reshuffling the power structure between corporations and democratic states at the expense of citizens and taxpayers.
So now this thing has to be ratified in the 12 countries involved. There might be one or the other hiccup – for example, Hillary Clinton has just come out against it to gain points in her battle to the presidency. “As of today, I am not in favor of what I have learned about it,” she told PBS, thus flip-flopping beautifully from when she, as Secretary of State, had backed the deal.
Despite these potential hiccups, delays, flip-flops, and re-flip-flops, I expect it to get ratified eventually by all 12 countries. Too many deep pockets have lined up behind it to let some elected politician screw it up.
Alas, there remains a little problem: does it really promote exports, which is what they all claim it does, or is that just hype?
That’s the question Krishen Rangasamy, Senior Economist at Economics and Strategy, National Bank Financial, in Canada asked in a note – and then provided the answer: um, no.
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