Speaking as a proponent of the Trans Pacific Partnership, I believe it encourages cooperation and growth.
Firstly, critics argue that the TPP is the expansion of multinational corporations, seeking low paying jobs, stating that Americans won’t be the choice employees anymore. This is, quite simply, untrue; in fact, labour standards are said to be increasing with the agreement. The TPP isn’t only good for the rich, but for America in it’s entirety. Free trade has evidently helped the American working class, since American consumers are the ones benefiting the most from the Partnership; what with it reducing the tariffs to level the playing field between states. By reducing tariffs, certain imports would become cheaper as well, hence working to the advantage of American consumers. Also, the basic point of the TPP is to sell more American products, so I fail to understand why so many people think that the eleven countries dealing in this agreement gain more from it than the U.S. does.
Killing the TPP would, in no way, help to bring factory work back to America and other countries involved. Further, enacting the agreement would raise standards for several of China’s (who is not yet a member of the TPP but can request membership) key trading partners, which would pressure it to meet some of those standards and cease its attempts to game global trade and impede foreign multinational companies.
Although the TPP has increased labour standards, I agree with critics when they mention unemployment and citizens losing their jobs. However, in the words of Jeffrey Frankel, a liberal and a professor at Harvard, “There are obviously some people who will lose their jobs from it, just like from technology or any other form of growth or change.” Furthermore, the U.S.A has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world. Other countries participating in the TPP have much higher unemployment rates, and it’s rather unfair to use that in an argument. Despite a few citizens facing unemployment, like I mentioned, the TPP works towards helping the working class. It supports higher paying jobs for the American citizens; it makes sure American farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and small businesses can compete – and win – in some of the fastest growing markets in the world. It includes very strong worker protections.
The Partnership also requires that member countries institute minimum wages, allow workers to form unions and adhere to the labour rights specified by the International Labor Organisation.
It eliminates restrictions that have blocked U.S. businesses from providing services overseas and puts in place rules to ensure that regulations in participating countries don’t discriminate against U.S. service suppliers. In President Obama’s words, “Outdated trade rules put our workers at a disadvantage. And TPP will change that.”
Secondly, as much as critics try to prove otherwise, the TPP does come with strict guidelines on environmental and labour standards. In fact, the agreement upgrades NAFTA, putting environmental protections at the core of the agreement and making those obligations fully enforceable through the same type of dispute settlement as other obligations.
“The TPP requires all members to combat wildlife trafficking, illegal logging, illegal fishing and overfishing, as well as prohibit some of the most harmful fishery subsidies and promote sustainable fisheries management practices. TPP also requires that the 12 countries promote long-term conservation of whales, dolphins, sharks, sea turtles and other marine species, as well as to protect and conserve iconic species like rhinos and elephants. And TPP cracks down on ozone-depleting substances as well as ship pollution of the oceans, all while promoting cooperative efforts to address energy efficiency.”
Thirdly, many people argue about all the ‘secrecy’ lining the agreement. According to Frankel, “When you’re negotiating, you can’t exactly say what the outcome is going to be. You can’t even say what you’re opening bid and fallback position is going to be or what your bottom line is; you can’t reveal those things in public. It’s just inconsistent with the nature of negotiations.” Furthermore, the entire agreement has been laid out (online) for the public now and there’s absolutely nothing ‘shady’ or dark about it. Do have a look.
Finally, participating economies of the Partnership want growth, an improved standard of living, income gains, gains from trades and efficiency benefits. The TPP aims at revitalising the economy without having to resort to any government spending. It is a source of economic as well as political growth. Political gains will be made by asserting American influence in the region, by the U.S. actually being an architect of the rules that will define the pattern of integration in the most dynamic region in the world.
Currently, TPP members represent about 40 percent of global GDP. Over the next two decades, it is forecast that nearly 50 percent of world growth will be generated in the Asia-Pacific region, yielding almost one billion new middle class consumers.
If you’ve heard Ian Golding’s TED Talk or read the textbook “Nye and Welch”, you’ll understand that globalisation means cooperation. Quoting Nye and Welch, “A truly globalised world market would mean free flows of goods, people and capital, and similar interest rates everywhere.” The Trans Pacific Partnership seeks to do exactly that; and all these reasons are why I believe that signing this agreement would be what’s best for the nation.