It’s almost Halloween, which means it’s time for ghosts, goblins and secret trade monsters to rear their ugly heads. Yes, nearly a month after the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was finalized, America's working people still have incomplete information about the dangers lurking within the text.
The administration tells a sweet story about what’s in the TPP, but the truth is closer to “The Conjuring” than it is to “Cinderella.” No matter how the corporate trade agenda has hurt working families, like Jason, it just won’t die. We have some insight and, from what we know, it’s pretty ugly.
Here are our Top Five Scariest Things About the TPP (with a few Halloween movie recommendations mixed in):
- The TPP will push wages down. As it stands, the TPP encourages outsourcing of jobs to countries with low wages, inadequate labor rights and poor environmental standards.
- There are only weak mechanisms to enforce labor rights. The TPP allows too much discretion in the enforcement of labor rights. Workers who petition the government may not see results for several years, if at all. Meanwhile, foreign investors can act independently to enforce their rights.
- Currency manipulation could wipe out any potential tariff reduction benefits. The administration has failed to include enforceable currency rules in the TPP. This means that U.S. manufacturers, hoping to increase exports, could continue to face closed markets and increasing import competition from products subsidized by countries with undervalued currencies.
- Foreign investors will be able to bypass the American court system. Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) will allow foreign companies to bypass American courts and file suit against laws and regulations they believe will interfere with their expected profits.
- Countries outside the TPP, namely China, will be able to write the rules of trade without joining. For example, weak rules of origin for automobiles mean that China and other non-TPP countries will be able to benefit from the TPP’s tariff reductions even if they don’t follow any of the TPP’s rules—that’s scarier than Christine.
SCARY BONUS: The administration has been characterizing the TPP without showing the public the factual basis for its claims. The lack of transparency is more “Mirrors” than it is “Alice Through the Looking Glass.”
This is a bad deal for America's working families.