The United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations—Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and Japan—signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Feb. 4, 2016. This trade, investment and economic governance agreement was negotiated in secret from 2010-15.
The signing of the TPP is only the beginning of the process to make the TPP law – not the end. Each of the 12 TPP countries has to go through a domestic process to approve or reject the TPP. In fact, that’s what last year’s Fast Track fight was all about: to create the process by which Congress will vote on the TPP. We are doing all we can to make sure America’s working families are educated about the TPP and organized to fight against it.
The AFL-CIO provided the Obama administration with ideas to improve U.S. trade policies so that they work for the 99%, not just the 1%. Unfortunately, our ideas were rejected. The final TPP will not create jobs, protect the environment or ensure safe imports. Rather, it appears modeled after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a free trade agreement that boosts global corporate profits while leaving working families behind.
The TPP's backers--mostly big business lobbies--boast the trade agreement as a “gold standard,” and the Obama administration promises it will promote and respect labor rights and raise wages for U.S. workers and workers across the Pacific Rim. The grim conditions facing workers in TPP partner countries were not effectively addressed in the TPP text or the side agreements called "consistency plans." Too many commitments to improve labor rights and environmental practices are vague, and the proposed enforcement scheme relies wholly on the discretion of the next administration. The failure of the TPP to incorporate needed improvements to labor commitments that already have proved inadequate in existing trade deals belies the agreement’s stated commitment to workers. Instead, the TPP contains strict, clear and strong protections for foreign investors and pharmaceutical monopolies. It is clear that, as currently drafted, the TPP would increase corporate profits and skew benefits to economic elites, while leaving workers to bear the brunt of the TPP’s shortcomings, including lost jobs, lower wages and continued repression of worker rights.
During the negotiations, labor union input was sidelined, especially in comparison to corporate input. Here's more information on the risks of the TPP: