The US-VN Plan for Enhancement of trade and labor relations

There has been some time since the TPP full text has been in the public view. If we look closely, there is a separate section for labor relations with Vietnam (https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/TPP-Final-Text-Labour-US-VN-Plan-for-Enhancement-of-Trade-and-Labor-Relations.pdf), Malaysia and Brunei. Of all three, Vietnam is the most expansive plan clearly signaling how important Vietnam is to US for trade deals. In many blogs, there has been criticism of current Labor practices in Vietnam and also the supposed US soft stand on those issues(Article credit: “After Trans-Pacific Partnership Text Released, Labor Advocates Say Human Rights Protections ‘Not Enforceable’”, by Abigail Abrams, 11/05/15 http://www.ibtimes.com/after-trans-pacific-partnership-text-released-labor-advocates-say-human-rights-2171278). But if we see from a normal standpoint (I am not commenting on the legality of the agreement or enforceability), TPP can usher in a bevy of reforms in Vietnam. The agreement calls out for a variety of reforms, especially for formation of labor unions, their autonomy and effectiveness, formation of ministry and department of labor, abolishment of forced or debt labor, provide capacity for labor department, child labor and the implementation of the same. Also, Vietnam will have to be transparent on its budget, inspection and status of unions. Most of these articles need to be implemented by the time TPP is in force. Only one article regarding enactment of laws for formation of labor unions across enterprises and verticals has to be implemented in five years, which is currently being contested by International Labor Organizations. However, is getting in 90% of reforms better than having nothing at all? Can the pressure of having these reforms be considered a violation of Viet Nam’s sovereignty? And which courts will the violations be addressed in?

 

New Zealand and the Meat Industry

The article “TPP to Deliver Removal of Tariffs” is an article specific to New Zealand, the meat industry, and the effects TPP has on both. As stated in the article, “in 2014, New Zealand exports of beef, sheep meat, and co-products to TPP countries total $2.4 billion USD. This equated to over one third of New Zealand’s total exports worldwide”. Tariff costs for exports to the TPP countries totaled $94.3 million. It is estimated that through the TPP, an” estimated $72 million in tariff costs” will be saved once fully implemented and operational. Specific to New Zealand, there are three main highlights. The first is the “removal of all tariffs on sheep meat in TPP countries within eight years or less when the agreement enters the force”. The second main requisite is the “removal of all tariffs on beef in TPP countries, except Japan, within 11 years or less from when the agreement enters into force”. Last is the “reduction of Japanese tariffs on beef from 38.5% to 9% over 16 years”. These changes obtained through the TPP will “secure market access and the red meat sector’s competitiveness not only into North Asia but will further integrate New Zealand into the Asia-Pacific regional supply chains”. Are there any potential side effects? Are any other countries in the TPP hurt by the adoption of the TPP?

Mexico, the TPP, and the Footwear Industry

In the article “TPP Will Allow Mexico to Increase Exports” (http://www.worldfootwear.com/news.asp?id=1321&TPP_will_allow_Mexico_to_increase_exports), the relationship between the TPP, Mexico, and the footwear industry are explored. According to Javier Plascencia, the president of the CICEG (Chamber of Footwear Industry of the State of Guanajuato), the TPP will “allow our manufacturing sector in Mexico to increase its exports, mainly to the nations with which we did not have a free trade agreement previously signed”. According to Plascencia, the TPP provides Mexico with the opportunity to be the footwear production center for many of the TPP members. According to statistics presented by the Ministry of Economy of the Federal Government, the TPP will “create an additional 30% of international trade for Mexico within the next five years, which represents around 150 billion USD”. For this to occur, Plascencia proposed a few key factors, the first of which is the adoption of a “more aggressive industrial policy …by the federal government to strengthen Mexican businesses and provide a more effective international trade promotion”. Additionally, Plascencia explains that “Mexican authorities must work with the private sector so the overall Mexican trade balance maintains its equilibrium and the businesses make the most out of the TPP”. What are the implications for Mexico if it does become a footwear industry leader? Will there be any potential side effects?

In these four countries, the TPP’s rules on generic drugs could kill people

By Simeon Tegel, GlobalPost

There’s a leakage of information regarding the dark hidden agreements drafted in the TPP. Particularly, those defining the game rules for pharmaceutical products in Peru, Mexico, Malaysia and Vietnam. In these countries, the public health depends on generic versions of vaccines such as that of Hepatitis B. Some say that the TPP establishes exclusivity for the original manufacturers of those medicines, which later translates into a rise of the cost in public health. A representative of Peru has mentioned “sometimes you have to give up things, to win others” as voters anxiously wait for details of what had Peru conceded and what did it get in exchange. However, at the end of the day, none of this agreements will become effective until the lawmakers of each of the 12 countries ratify the deal.

Original article: http://www.globalpost.com/article/6665195/2015/10/08/these-are-four-countries-where-tpps-generic-drug-rules-could-do-real-harm

Why China doesn’t mind being left out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

By Allison Jackson, GlobalPost

Recalling the TTP as the largest international trade agreement so far in history, it appears that China has been left out intentionally, some believe. Some others say such move has to do with politics and economic influence more than anything else, and this decision does not take full advantage of the potential that this country can offer into this agreement. Why isn’t China concerned? There are other ways the Giant Asian is ruling its influence in the world economy. Besides already having free trade agreement with more than half of the countries in the TPP, China is currently dealing with its own TPP with 15 other countries in the Asian region. Additionally, China has many other ways to circumvent tariffs with its ubiquitous supply chain. What could have been an attempt to lower its economy, ended up being nothing more than a small scratch.

Original article: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/10/09/why-china-doesnt-mind-being-left-out-trans-pacific-partnership/73640192/

Will the TPP Agreement Cost US Jobs?

An article in Voice of America (October 30, 2015) titled “Will the TPP Agreement Cost US Jobs?” (http://www.voanews.com/content/will-the-tpp-agreement-cost-us-jobs/3029372.html) describes the risk that TPP represents for the unemployment rate in US. The AFL-CIO Labor Unions blames the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the loss of approximately 700,000 U.S. jobs since the deal took effect in 1994. Barak Obama has promised that the TPP will be different from NAFTA, since it will improve workers’ standards by having enforceable mechanisms in countries like Vietnam and Malaysia. Some people discuss that the TPP is a betrayal to the American worker, while others highlight the advantages of this commercial deal for economic sectors such as agriculture.  How will the TPP impact the unemployment rate in the U.S? If the deal is approved what actions will be performed by the Central Bank to control such unemployment rate and its impact on the economy?

TPP Daily Debunk #1: The Most Progressive Trade Agreement Ever

An article in AFL-CIO America’s Unions (November 10, 2015) titled “TPP Daily Debunk #1: The Most Progressive Trade Agreement Ever” (http://www.aflcio.org/Blog/Political-Action-Legislation/TPP-Daily-Debunk-1-The-Most-Progressive-Trade-Agreement-Ever) questions whether the TPP is a progressive agreement or not. The author explains that the 11 members of the TPP will not benefit by a trade deal that permanently locks in increased corporate power and rights. Some of the trade-offs of the agreement is the fact that it creates extreme monopoly rights for global pharmaceutical companies and provides them more power to drive up costs for Medicare and public health programs in all the TPP countries, resulting in higher drug prices. Also the article challenges this commercial deal and the power that it gives to foreign companies, which will take home the taxpayer dollars to compensate for lost expected profits. How will the TPP impact the international trade for members and non-members of the deal? How will the increase in net exports be balanced with the potential decrease of local investment in the US triggered after the TPP?