Trans-Pacific Partnership Is Reached, but Faces Scrutiny in Congress

Now that it’s been finalized, the Obama Administration’s possibly biggest achievement faces an even bigger challenge; Congress (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/06/business/trans-pacific-partnership-trade-deal-is-reached.html?_r=0).  Congress will have several months to scrutinize all 30 chapters of the TPP document.  In addition to Congress’s test, Obama’s trade agreement will finally face the public.  Thousands of people were already put-off at the negotiations being done in secrecy; therefore, gaining support will be an uphill battle.  During the negotiation phase, the TPP seemed to mainly attract feelings of ambivalence at best.  To further expound on the drama soon to unfold, the TPP finalization will definitely cause a spark in the soon to come presidential debates.  There were some who are completely against it and vice versa, but that may soon change.  Perhaps finalizing the document via “fast track” approval wasn’t the best move for Obama’s team.  From a spectating standpoint, it doesn’t appear the TPP will get passed.  There’s too many provisions that can’t seem to be agreed upon,  and once Congress tries to amend the agreement, things will really make a turn for the worse, but let’s try to remain positive!

Feel free to read the article (in the link above) and decide what the TPP’s fate will be.

Now that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is finalized, the real fight starts

The time has finally come; the TPP has been finalized!  This was an extremely successful moment for the Obama administration as his term is coming to a close.  The next question that lies is, “what now?”  It appears the war has only just begun (http://boingboing.net/2015/10/05/now-that-the-trans-pacific-par.html).  The public will soon finally get a chance to see what negotiators and executives from major corporations were plotting in secrecy for the past decade.  Similar to the author of the article, I have a superstition things will go awry once the public finally reads the text.  I can already envision thousands of angry Americans petitioning to do away with the TPP.  In addition to the people in the U.S., I can’t begin to fathom the outrage from citizens in remaining 11 countries.  I can only hope the past years of negotiation will have paid off and all social classes will benefit from this monumental trade agreement.

Singapore Warns US Faces ‘Stark Choice’ Over TPP Fate

While the United States is one of  the world leaders in economic dominance, the TPP deal can have a great impact on its future (http://www.voanews.com/content/singapore-fm-warns-us-faces-stark-choice-over-fate-of-tpp/2824287.htmll). There are a few commodities (e.g., auto industry, agriculture, and technology) that Asian countries along the Pacific Rim have which are vital to our society and vice versa.  Being a part of the countries with such high GDP output is crucial.  The United States needs the TPP as much as it needs the U.S.  Signing the agreement will certainly slow things for China as it has the largest economy in the world and is only growing.  This is a major reason why the document must get approved.  The longer the U.S. waits to sign the agreement, the further behind China it gets.  Even worse, the other countries won’t hesitate to leave the U.S. out of negotiations if it can’t reach a consensus.  The TPP was primarily designed to overthrow China’s dominance in global economics.

Singapore says TPP vital for U.S. to be taken seriously in Asia

A few months back, Reuters politics reporter, David Brunnstrom, gave a brief summary of Singapore’s take on the importance of the TPP for the United States (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/15/us-usa-trade-singapore-idUSKBN0OV2NF20150615).  Singapore Foreign Minister, K. Shanmugam, declared if the United States wants to be taken seriously amongst the Asia Pacific trading nations, it must be able to pass the TPP.  Given that the 12 countries involved are responsible for 40% of the world’s GDP, this deal would give the United States the upper-hand in regards to trading power.  The Obama administration has been very eager to get the agreement signed since his term is coming to a close, but more importantly for the benefits this deal has for American’s job stability.  Obama also claimed the TPP will help the U.S. reestablish its position as lead in setting the “global economic agenda” against China.

Chile Minister Wants U.S. concessions in TPP

Unlike most countries involved in the negotiations, I respect Chile for remaining steadfast in their demands.  According to Bloomberg news article (http://www.bna.com/chile-minister-wants-n17179934929/) Chile isn’t going to budge unless the United States gives Chile what it wants.  It seems as if the U.S. has been the “problem child” during the process.  They are demanding so much from the other countries, yet seemed to be the most egregious when it comes to making sacrifices.  For instance, the United States wants to extend the length of patents on biological pharmaceuticals beyond the five years as mandated per Chile’s law.  If Chile agreed to this, there’s no indication as to how much inflation would take place in the pharmacy products in Chile.   The U.S. has also demanded for Chile to have the authority to “revise implementing legislation in member countries.”  However, Chile will not sign anything until the U.S. softens its provisions.  This could definitely prolong the TPP signing, and it may cause other countries to follow suit if Chile decides to back out the process entirely.

 

Feel free to read the article and see Chile’s take on the TPP.

 

Where the TPP Could Lose

While the United States has been granted “fast-track” trade promotion authority, it doesn’t seem to pose any sense of urgency for Chile.  Journalist, Julia Paley, tells the reader that Chile won’t sign the TPP agreement unless it meets certain requirements (http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/08/17/where-the-tpp-could-lose/).  Chile’s biggest concerns are the effects the agreement will have on working people after it is signed.  If signed, major corporations will pretty much have free reign on numerous markets.  Prices for everyday products may rise, health costs could become unaffordable etc.  Chile isn’t afraid to back out either as it already has separate trade agreements with all of the countries involved in the negotiations.  Chile also trades heavily with China, therefore the TPP won’t really make a serious economic impact.  In Chile’s case, signing the TPP can only hurt its economy.  Similar to the other countries involved, the outlook towards the  agreement would be better if the government officials weren’t as secretive as they have been.  People need to know what’s going on in their nation as their quality of life may be at stake.

 The TPP and Chile

Years ago, late Chilean president, Salvador Allende, tried to warn his country about the negative a effects of “neoliberalism.”  According to article (http://www.thenation.com/article/the-tpp-will-finish-what-chiles-dictatorship-started/) from the political journal website, “The Nation,” signing the TPP can be detrimental to Chile’s economic stability.  To those who don’t know, neoliberalism essentially means economic factors are controlled by the private sector (corporations) as opposed to the traditional public sector (government).  This is a gold mine for major corporations as they would have insurmountable control of markets, especially with the TPP being an international agreement.  For Chile, there is too much too lose; the Investor-State-Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision can easily place a negative impact on it society.  The ISDS gives corporations the right to “sue government directly before tribunals of three private sector lawyers operating under World Bank and UN rules to demand taxpayer compensation for any domestic law that investor believe will diminish their expected future profits.”  They can literally sue “just because,” and Chilean wages are already fairly low.  If the agreement is signed this year, hopefully it won’t place this negative impact on Chile’s economy.