Planet Not For Sale

Dairy in Crisis: TPP Dumping on Dairy Farmers

Language:  English Author(s) (external):  Erik Katovich File:  2016_04_06_DairyImports_EK.pdf The U.S. dairy industry is currently threatened by a global dairy glut. Worldwide, milk production has increased nearly 40 percent since 1995, with the fastest increase occurring in the last two years.1 In the United States, dairy output exceeded 157 billion pounds in the first three quarters of 2015, and likely broke all-time production records for 2015 as a whole.2 As a result of this oversupply, global dairy prices have plummeted 55 percent since their peak in 2014, and are now at their lowest levels since 2009, according to data from Global Dairy Trade.3 According to Bloomberg Business, in early 2015, dairies in the northeastern United States dumped 31 million pounds of milk when processors...

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Investigation No. TPA‐105‐001:Trans‐Pacific Partnership Agreement: Likely Impact on the U.S. Economy and on Specific Industry Sectors (and Consumer Interests)

Language:  English IATP author(s):  Dr. Steve Suppan File:  US ITC TPP SPS comment 2 16 15.pdf Lisa R. Barton Secretary to the Commission U.S. International Trade Commission (Commission) 500 E Street SW Washington, DC Investigation No. TPA‐105‐001:Trans‐Pacific Partnership Agreement: Likely Impact on the U.S. Economy and on Specific Industry Sectors (and Consumer Interests) Submitted electronically – February 16, 2016 Summary The U.S. agricultural trade performance of so called “Free Trade Agreements” (FTAs) since 1994 has been anemic.  A recent review of six FTAs puts their collective agricultural trade deficit at $1.6 billion.1 U.S. agricultural exports have not delivered prosperity to farmers and ranchers. Instead, they depend Farm Bill subsidies to...

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Rural Engagement Critical to Success of Clean Power Plan, New Report

Subtitle:  State Energy Plans Could Support Cleaner Energy, Greater Rural Equity Language:  English IATP author(s):  Tara Ritter File:  2016_03_31_CleanPowerPlan_PR.pdf Minneapolis – The success of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan will depend largely on state-level engagement with rural communities who are most directly affected by shifts in energy production, finds a new report from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). The report, “The Clean Power Plan: Opportunities for an Equitable Energy Transition in Rural America” by IATP’s Tara Ritter, concludes that states should actively integrate rural perspectives into their Clean Power Plan compliance plans. In February,...

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The Clean Power Plan

Subtitle:  Opportunities for an Equitable Energy Transition in Rural America IATP author(s):  Tara Ritter File:  2016_04_01_CleanPowerPlan_TR.pdf Rural America has long produced much of the nation’s energy. Most power plants, mines, gas drilling sites, wind turbines and dams are in rural areas, as are the farms and forests that provide the materials for biomass production. In many cases, these industries contribute greatly to rural economies. However, a majority of the nation’s energy is consumed in urban areas, where most of the nation’s people and infrastructure are located. This gap between energy production and consumption means that energy policy has very different implications for rural and urban communities. These differences are one reason why the Environmental...

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Talking Points: Response to 3/15/16 Peterson Institute Pro-TPP Paper

Eyes on Trade - 28 março, 2016 - 18:24
Below is a briefing note called, “Assuming Away Unemployment and Trade Deficits from the TPP” from the team at Tufts University that debunked the original Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) TPP study which this latest missive, “Adjustment & Income Distribution Impacts of the TPP” by PIIE’s Robert Lawrence and Tyler Moran, is premised. The key points are:
  • Of course Lawrence and Moran find that TPP’s benefits far exceed the adjustment costs: They use the findings of the PIEE TPP study (Petri-Plummer) derived from a model that does not allow for permanent job loss or increased trade deficits and assumes no increased income inequality. Those assumptions, which contradict the outcomes of each past major U.S. trade pact, mean TPP wage and employment losses are just temporary “adjustment costs” on the way back to full employment. If that were not sufficient to distort the new study’s findings, the authors also pile on more outlandish assumptions to minimize the number of workers likely to be affected and the impact on their wages.
  • With larger trade deficits and permanent job loss excluded by assumption, Lawrence and Moran then start discounting how many Americans would be hit even by temporary job displacement from the TPP by presenting three scenarios. 
    • They start with 1.69 million U.S. workers possibly displaced over ten years of the TPP.
    • They drastically reduce that total to 278,000 (mainly in manufacturing), by invoking another layer of assumption based on the underlying full-employment assumption: Rising demand will generate new jobs and thus limit job loss.
    • Then they reduce that to 238,000 workers by excluding workers who voluntarily leave manufacturing jobs, so the TPP can’t be blamed for those losses.
  • They then apply a formula to estimate the temporary adjustment costs (essentially lost wages) from those “displaced.” They compare these to Petri and Plummer’s reported U.S. TPP gains of $131 billion. Recall that these gains are based on the outlandish assumptions baked into the model. Another study that allowed for job loss and increased trade deficits found the TPP would result in net losses for the United States.
  • Lawrence and Moran’s resulting cost-benefit calculation does not report the costs, just the ratios, for the three scenarios. The authors report that for their “most realistic” scenario (#3), the one with the fewest displaced jobs, the benefits are 18 times the costs over the 10-year “adjustment period” (2017-26).
    • Then, they add in three “post-adjustment years” 2027-2030 and the ratio skyrockets to 115:1. Why? Presumably because with the full-employment assumption all displaced workers are, by then, happily employed in their new post-TPP jobs.
  • Finally, the authors also make the unfounded assumption that U.S. wages will increase at the same rate as productivity, though that has not happened for thirty years. This assumption automatically raises most workers’ incomes in their analysis. They also claim the assumed income gains will be much the same for each quintile of U.S. income distribution, with the bottom quintile seeing an increase 0.007 of a percentage point higher than the top. Technically, that’s mildly progressive. But consider it in terms of absolute gains: The bottom 40 percent sees just $8 billion in income gains, while the top quintile would get $48 billion. (i.e., more in absolute terms than the bottom 80 percent combined.)
  • The resulting cost-benefit calculations are misleading not only because the costs are assumed away, but also because the benefits are overstated. This latest paper takes the earlier Petri and Plummer estimates at face value, with all their flawed growth-boosting assumptions (such as a surge in foreign investment and most growth gains from non-trade measures). Plus, the gains are simply asserted to be large, when even the Petri-Plummer estimates of gains are incredibly small, just 0.5 percent of GDP for the United States in 2030, i.e., a paltry 0.029 percent per year on average over 15 years. How small is that? Even with all of the unrealistic assumptions, for the bottom 40 percent of U.S. income distribution, the gains amount to just $62 per person, in 15 years.

THE FULL BRIEFING NOTE FROM THE TUFTS TEAM CAN BE FOUND HERE: http://triplecrisis.com/assuming-away-unemployment-and-trade-deficits-from-the-tpp/

 

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Barack Obama en la Argentina

Blog de Javier Echaide - 24 março, 2016 - 01:46
La presencia del presidente de los EE.UU. Barack Obama en Argentina no es inocua. Como toda visita oficial tiene un propósito, pero el suyo se ata a un conjunto de motivos y relaciones que superan al "cambio" reflejado en la elección de Mauricio Macri como presidente de los argentinos, aunque no prescinde tampoco de ese dato.

El hecho de que además se dé simultáneamente (o mejor dicho, a propósito) de los 40 años del Golpe de Estado que inauguró la Dictadura Militar más sangrienta de la historia nacional, también es un dato que debe considerarse.

La visita de Obama en calidad oficial merece todo el protocolo que significa una visita de Estado. Ello implica la seguridad, el trato, el uso de símbolos (banderas en los lugares públicos habituales donde visitará, como la Plaza de Mayo, donde debe compartir el uso de las insignias oficiales argentinas). Ese trato que se demuestra muchas veces con una cena de gala -que el presidente de Francia Francoise Hollande no mereció- con baile de tango incluido -que el primer ministro italiano Mateo Renzi no tuvo- o las notas de color (e incluso notas dedicadas a la familia presidencial foránea!) que la visita de Federica Mogherini, comisaria de relaciones exteriores de la Unión Europea tampoco gozó.


Lo que la prensa más acomodada y la organización oficial, acompañado de una importante y lamentable mirada acrítica por parte de la ciudadanía, ha demostrado en esta visita oficial es algo que solamente puede decirse con una expresión cabal y ajustada que sólo un "dialecto" como el lunfardo podría definir: tilinguería. Con ello no criticamos la visita de Obama, sino que nos referimos a nosotros mismos. Somos tilingos. Esta visita oficial nos desvive, mucho más que la del primer mandatario italiano, la del francés, la del un urugayo o un brasileño. Argentina tiene, como Jano, una doble cara que mira con recelo a los Estados Unidos y otra que lo hace con devoción...

La explicación para ello suele basarse en que EE.UU. es el país más importante de la tierra, como si no estuviera perdiendo terreno a pasos agigantados frente a China o como si no hubiera una competencia retomada con vigor por Rusia en la política internacional. Como si no existieran los BRICS (de los cuales nos desvivíamos también hasta hace sólo año y medio...). Es que somos tilingos. No somos capaces de imaginar a una Argentina con política exterior de Estado capáz de entender a lo largo de más de 4 años (que es lo que dura un mandato presidencial) y que puedan fijar una lectura del mundo en el que vivimos y un trazo de hacia dónde dirigirnos en consecuencia. Y que esa dirección, ese camino, fuera una decisión autónoma.

Importa la visita del presidente de EE.UU., claro. Pero parece importar en tanto "nos va a ir mejor" con ella, como si fuéramos incapaces de pensar un futuro mejor para nosotros sin la visita de Obama. Por ende, nuestro futuro venturoso se hallaría aparentemente atado al futuro venturoso de los EE.UU. Es llamativo cómo no se piensa eso cuando nos visita el presidente francés, el premier ruso, o el chino (¡que lo han hecho además!).

Y esto no es algo exclusivo del presidente Macri -auque es evidente que su política exterior está diseñada a un alineamiento directo con los EE.UU.- El primer encuentro entre la entonces presidenta Cristina Fernández de Kirchner y el presidente Obama también tuvo esa mirada devota... mirada que no volvió a darse en posteriores oportunidades.

El punto hasta aquí no es aquí hablar bien o mal de un determinado gobierno, sino analizarnos críticamente como sociedad, que deposita en otros, ajenos (sea Obama, el papa Francisco o quien fuere), los destinos de nuestras familias, nuestro trabajo, nuestro futuro en vez de reconocer que ese futuro está en nuestras propias manos.

La visita y la agenda

La oferta de Obama de desclasificar los archivos secretos de los años Ž70 -algo que Macri pretende mostrar como logro propio (véase en su alocución durante la conferencia de prensa en el Salón Blanco de Casa Rosada- es parte de una necesaria autocrítica que realiza a 40 años del Golpe de Estado en Argentina y que su país apoyó activamente en aquel entonces. El papa Francisco ha ofrecido lo mismo respecto de los archivos vaticanos. Lo interesante es saber qué habrá de hacerse con esa información disponible de ahora en más. De poco sirven archivos secretos develados si los mismos no son utilizados como elementos probatorios en los juicios pendientes contra represores y civiles involucrados en los crímenes de lesa humanidad en curso.

Como decíamos, la visión carente de una interdependencia en las relaciones internacionales, pero interdependencia no pasiva sino fijada desde una autonomía que marque un espacio de decisión sobre los temas internacionales, es lo que marca el sentir de gran parte de la población que entiende a la visita de Obama como algo trascendente para nuestro porvenir en el corto (muy corto) plazo, dado que Obama terminará su gestión en tan solo nueve meses.

Así es: Obama es un presidente saliente. Macri uno entrante. No es pequeño detalle. Esta diferencia (que sin embargo no parece tan obvia) es elemental para sopesar las pretensiones de cada uno. Macri quiere garantizar su relación con un presidente norteamericano que será efímero y que necesariamente deberá dar paso a uno de los candidatos que hoy disputan las internas electorales estadounidenses.

Empero, el gobierno macrista traza la agenda bilateral con el actual presidente norteamericano sin siquiera tener un análisis sobre esa misma agenda en posibles presidencias como la de un Donald Trump, una Hillary Clinton o un Bernie Sanders. Eso parece fuera de la imaginación del gobierno de Cambiemos...

Es por ello que resalta en el discurso del presidente Macri que rescate -hasta en una insistencia notable- el "liderazgo" de Obama. Más allá de los discursos formales, hay en Macri una cuota de honestidad intelectual, sincera, y otra de oportunismo. Lograr una visita oficial por parte de la máxima comitiva norteamericana es, sin dudas, tomada por la gestión macrista como un "éxito" en sus 105 días de gestión. Pero además resulta evidente que la política exterior trazada por el actual gobierno argentino es inimaginable sin su acomplamiento a la agenda de los EE.UU.

Se abre entonces una época de "relaciones maduras" con EE.UU. en la que el seguidismo no es precisamente ni un buen síntoma ni un signo de maduréz. Los planes de Argentina en materia de política exterior (y esto tomando lo sostenido por el propio Macri en la conferencia de prensa frente a Obama) es adherirse a la Alianza del Pacífico y desde allí al Tratado Transpacífico (TPP por sus siglas en inglés), algo que es una de las principales cartas en materia comercial global... de los EE.UU., no de Argentina.

Objetivos: realineamiento político, agenda comercial (y ¿"pobreza cero"?)

EE.UU. ha relanzado su agenda de libre comercio a nivel global y para ello ha desplegado dos fuertes iniciativas: una para excluir a China del intercambio global y así recuperar terreno ante el gigante ya no tan dormido... Esto es el TPP. La otra iniciativa es la negociación bilateral que mantiene con la UE para firmar el Tratado Transatlántico (TTIP por sus siglas en inglés) que fijará el piso de las relaciones comerciales a nivel global, dado el peso específico de ambos jugadores en el comercio mundial y por la cantidad de relaciones bilaterales que tanto EE.UU. como los países de la UE poseen con el resto de los Estados del mundo. También por la aplicación de las cláusulas jurídicas específicas que se negocian en este acuerdo (como en otros de libre comercio) y cuyo efecto es irradiar los compromisos que establecen el mejor trato comercial. Hablamos de la denominada cláusula de la nación más favorecida (o cláusula NMF).

En dos meses Macri se entrevistó con los mencionados mandatarios de Italia (dos veces), Francia, la "canciller" de la UE y ahora el mandatariio norteamericano. Viajó además al Foro Económico Mundial en Davos, Suiza (y con una costilla rota), pero sin embargo, días después, se excusó por esa misma costilla para no estar presente en la Cumbre de la CELAC y las manifestaciones que apoyó que ha tenido con gobiernos de la región (como Brasil) han sido tangenciales y no oficiales (para las cámaras, en conferencias de presna). En otros casos (Venezuela) ha habido una total falta de diplomacia (que se pretende rescatar con la formalidad de la visita de Obama) y se ha juzgado sobre sus conmociones internas. El realineamiento hacia una agenda librecambista y, en términos regionales, pro-estanounidense ha sido evidente.

Los EE.UU. apuntan a Macri como punta de lanza dentro de la región para que traccione a los sectores de una "nueva derecha" regional hacia ese centro. Pero el alineamiento no es una cuestión de rótulos nacionalistas: la negociación de un tratado de libre comercio (TLC) entre el Mercosur y la UE se encuentran avanzadas y con un Brasil muy interesado en concretarlas. El cambio en la política exterior argentina hace casi inmediato la posibilidad de concretar esta negociación que ha estado trabada desde 2004.

Tanto el TLC con la UE como las negociaciones de un TLC entre Argentina y los EE.UU. van a tener como parámetro el piso establecido por el TTIP. Y el alineamiento argentino a la Alianza para el Pacífico hará lo propio sumando a la Argentina al TPP.

Las negociaciones por los TLC, fueren regionales o bilaterales, son la receta de los países centrales por superar sus propias necesidades de acumulación. La teoría del libre comercio fue pensada por el economista inglés David Ricardo e inspirada no en los pueblos agricultores africanos, los cuentapropistas chinos, las culturas indígenas o las PyMEs argentinas, sino en la pujante industria británica en ascenso deseosa por colocar sus productos manufacturados en todo el globo. Las ideas del liberalismo económico han cambiado poco desde entonces (siglo XVIII).

Sin embargo, en el discurso oficial, Macri sostiene que estos acuerdos ayudarán a general "pobreza cero" creando trabajos a partir del cuentapropismo (el llamado "emprendedorismo") y las pequeñas y medianas empresas (PyMEs). Sin embargo, las experiencias existentes desde hace 20 años en países como México adentro del Tratado de Libre Coemrcio de América del Norte (TLCAN o NAFTA, por sus siglas en inglés) demuestran todo lo contrario: una impresionante concentración económica, crecimiento con aumento de pobreza y sectores marginados que se vuelcan a industrias ilegales (y altamente peligrosas como el narcotráfico) para subsistir, pequeños productores quebrados, conocimientos ancestrales olvidados y extranjerización de la economía. Si EE.UU. se ha comportado así en 20 años en su TLC con México, ¿por qué esperar un resultado distinto con recetas similares hacia nosotros?

Dicho todo esto, es inevitable hacer una comparación con el ALCA. El Área de Libre Comercio de las Américas fue el proyecto librecambista que los EE.UU. presentó para todo el hemisferio, salvo Cuba y que quedó abandonado tras la VI Cumbre de las América celebrada en Mar del Plata, Argentina, en el año 2005. Sin un ALCA y sin una Ronda de Doha de 15 años de negociación sin resultados en la Organización Mundial del Comercio (OMC), EE.UU. ha lanzado otras iniciativas de tratados internaconales en materia comercial dividiendo a los países más proclives a los proyectos neoliberales de libre comercio (tal es la Alianza del Pacífico en el TPP) y excluyendo al mismo tiempo a China -competidor natural de EE.UU. en el mercado del Pacífico-. Se suma a este entramado el Tratado sobre Coemrcio de Servicios (TISA por las siglas en inglés de Trade In Services Agreement), negociándose por fuera del ámbito de la OMC. En suma, se trata de una estrategia político-jurídica para romper el multilateralismo y al mismo tiempo aislar a las principales "potencias emergentes" del comercio global: Brasil, Rusia, India y China. Y Argentina parece deseosa de participar pero pero menospreciando estos datos y concentrándonos en el cuantapropismo como trampolín del crecimiento...

TPP + TTIP + TISA: ese es el "Gran Recinto" que EE.UU. está diseñando para las próximas dos décadas. Llamativamente, dentro de ese "recinto" están incluidos Sudáfrica (miembro del TPP), Paraguay (miembro del TISA y también del Mercosur) y hasta septiembre de 2015 también lo estaba Uruguay, que se retiró del TISA por la inconveniencia de ese tratado para sus intereses político-económicos.

La visita de Obama no ha sido entonces un homenaje a los derechos humanos o una conmemoración a los desaparecidos durante la última Dictadura solamente. Involucra claros temas que son actuales y a futuro, como la protección de inversiones extranjeras dentro de los tratados de libre comercio como el TPP. El capítulo 9 del TPP es sobre inversiones y marca demasiadas similitudes con el capítulo homónimo del ALCA o los tratados bilaterales de inversión (TBI) que remiten al CIADI como modo de resolución de conflictos entre empresas transnacionales y Estados. La experiencia argentina en materia de demandas ante el CIADI debería alertarnos sobre lo riesgoso que son estos mecanismos frente a la posibilidad de diseñar políticas públicas. Las demandas de Aguas Argentinas contra la Argentina, Aguas del Tunari contra Bolivia, Philip Morris contra Uruguay y contra Australia, las dos demandas de Vattenfall contra Alemania o las 25 demandas que recibió España solamente en el 2015 son pruebas más que suficientes para aportar en este sentido.

Hay algunas pocas inversiones inmediatas demoradas por cuestiones administrativas. Pero las inversiones que tanto preocupan por su ausencia a la administración macrista no vendrán por estos acuerdos sino por un clima de negocios basado en el crecimiento del mercado argentino. Una inflación anual del 40%, una desocupación en ascenso y una recesión que parece que se profundizará en el 2016 en vez de revertirse, no son datos precisamente alentadores para favorecer ese clima... El Citicorp lo sabe y por eso vendió su capital accionario del Citibank en Argentina y hace menos de un mes.

¿Qué significa entonces en la boca de Obama estas inversiones aludidas? Empresas como Chevron, con contrato celebrado con YPF en la gestión anterior a la de Cambiemos, con un contrato con jurisdicción extranjera, negociado en secreto y con sentencia judicial de la Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación que exige su publicidad, sentencia que el actual gobierno ha desconocido y desafiado abiertamente al negar dicha publicidad. El cuidado de los intereses de contratos como estos pueden ser una parte de las preocupaciones privadas que se hallán detrás del declamado gobierno "del pueblo y para el pueblo"...

En resúmen: la visita de Obama se encuentra muy lejos de una visita turística para conocer Bariloche, bailar tango o regodearse en el glamour local. Es una visita con una clara agenda marcada para la siguiente administración norteamericana; para un reposisionamiento en la región y para concretar su proyección comercial a nivel global pensando más en sus propias necesidades que en las del pueblo argentino. Y desconocer estas realidades es montar una expresión de deseos negadora de una política internacional bien palpable.
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Following Breadcrumbs: TPP Text Provides Clues to U.S. Positions in TTIP

Language:  English IATP author(s):  Karen Hansen-Kuhn File:  2016_03_21_TPPonTTIP_KHK.pdf While civil society groups around the world raise a variety of concerns about the substance of free trade agreements, for the most part they begin their critiques with the lack of transparency. Despite their potentially far-reaching impacts on national economies, public services, and natural resources, trade deals are negotiated in secret, with the resulting agreements submitted for ratification without the possibility of amendments. This is as true in the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) as it has been for other bilateral or regional trade deals negotiated by the U.S. or EU. So instead of a robust public debate on the merits of the issues under negotiation,...

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President’s Annual March Trade Agenda

Eyes on Trade - 3 março, 2016 - 14:23

Administration Continues to Use Debunked Talking Points to Sell TPP

The Obama administration released the 2016 Trade Policy Agenda today as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) faces increasing bipartisan opposition in the U.S. House and Senate. However, instead of addressing the growing chorus of concerns in the 2016 trade agenda, the administration continues to push debunked talking points to the American people in hopes of selling the controversial agreement.

Public Citizen has already debunked most of talking points included in the 2016 trade agenda report:

Debunked talking point: More than 18,000 tax cuts on Made-in-America exports.

  • Reality: The Obama administration is trying to shift focus to an impressive-sounding number with its mantra about TPP delivering “18,000 tax cuts for Made in America exports.” But that is just the raw number of tariff lines cut by the five TPP nations with which the United States does not already have free trade agreements (FTAs). The United States only sold goods to those nations in less than 7,500 of the 18,000 categories. Indeed, the United States exports no goods to any nation under some of the touted 18,000 tariff lines.

 


 

 

Debunked talking point: The President’s trade agenda is focused on supporting U.S. jobs and raising wages.

 Debunked Talking Point: Putting more money in middle class pockets.

  • Reality: A recent study finds the TPP would spell a pay cut for all but the richest 10 percent of Americans by exacerbating income inequality, as past trade deals have done. That would contradict Obama’s 2015 State of the Union inequality reduction goal. Macroeconomic theory predicts if Americans face more competition from workers in Vietnam who make less than 65 cents/hour, wages will be pushed down. Sixty percent of manufacturing workers losing jobs to trade who find reemployment face pay cuts, with one in three losing more than 20 percent, per U.S. DoL data. There is academic consensus that trade has contributed to the major rise in inequality.

Debunked talking point: The TPP is preserving our environment.

Debunked talking point: The TPP is promoting our values.

  • Reality: While the Obama administration is celebrated for its defense of gay equality after dust-binning the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and joining those announcing that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, it decided to allow Brunei to remain in the TPP even after the country announced that it would begin stoning to death gays and single mothers under new sharia-based laws. This has led to LGBTQ groups joining the TPP opposition.

Debunked talking point: The TPP is promoting the U.S. auto industry.

  • Reality: The TPP would threaten the president’s successful rescue of the U.S. auto industry and thousands of U.S. jobs. It would allow vehicles comprised mainly of Chinese and other non-TPP country parts and labor to gain duty free access. This would gut the rules of origin established in NAFTA that condition duty free access on 62.5 percent of value being from NAFTA countries. Ford has supported all past U.S. trade deals, but opposes the TPP.

Debunked talking point: 98 percent of U.S. exporters are small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

  • Reality: SMEs comprise most U.S. exporting firms simply because they constitute 99.7 percent of U.S. firms overall. However, only 3 percent of U.S. SMEs export any good to any country. In contrast, 38 percent of large U.S. firms are exporters. The relatively few small businesses that do actually export have seen even more disappointing export performance under FTAs than large firms have seen. U.S. small businesses have seen their exports to Korea decline even more sharply than large firms under the Korea FTA (a 14 percent versus 3 percent decrease), while small firms’ exports to Mexico and Canada under NAFTA have grown less than half as much as large firms’ exports. Indeed, small firms’ exports to all non-NAFTA countries have exceeded by more than 50 percent the growth of their exports to NAFTA partners.

 

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Debunking the Administration’s TPP = 18,000 Tax Cuts on U.S. Exports Talking Point

Eyes on Trade - 24 fevereiro, 2016 - 21:31

U.S. Sold Nothing in More than 10,600 of Those Categories...

Without compelling jobs or economic growth data to sell the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Obama administration is trying to shift focus to an impressive-sounding number with its mantra about TPP delivering “18,000 tax cuts for Made in America exports.”

But that is just the raw number of tariff lines cut by the five TPP nations with which the United States does not already have free trade agreements. The United States only sold goods to those nations in less than 7,500 of the 18,000 categories. Indeed, the United States exports no goods to any nation under some of the touted 18,000 tariff lines.

The 18,000 figure is a misdirect. The relevant question is not the number of tariff cuts other countries listed but whether the TPP would lead to net U.S. job creation, higher wages, an improved trade balance and higher U.S. growth rates.

  • The United States exported nothing for more than half of the 18,000 categories to the five relevant nations – Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei – in 2014, the last year for which annual data is available. U.S. exporters already have “tax cuts” for their goods under previous trade deals with the other six TPP nations, including Canada and Mexico – our second and third largest trade partners.
  • For the nearly 7,500 categories of goods out of the 18,000 for which we sold anything to the five nations without previous FTAs, almost 50 percent of the categories had sales under $500,000. And the TPP is not likely to transform that reality. Brunei (annual GDP $17.1 billion) is a tiny market. New Zealand (annual GDP $200 billion – smaller than San Diego) and Vietnam (annual GDP $186.2 billion – close to that of Denver) are not big markets. And, consumer demand is limited by Vietnam’s extremely low $2,052 per capita income. Malaysia’s per capital income is one fifth of that in the United States and its GDP is $338.1 billion, about the size of Atlanta. Japan is a huge market. But, with the exception of some agricultural goods, tariffs have not been the main barriers to U.S. exports to Japan. (GDP data from the World Bank)
  • Almost 2,000 of the tariff reductions in the categories of products the United States does sell won’t be realized for over a decade. This includes some of those, such as beef and pork to Japan, where tariff cuts could make a difference. But because the TPP does not have enforceable disciplines against currency manipulation, by the time these cuts finally go into effect they could effectively have been erased if Japan devalues the yen.

  • The administration’s “TPP Guide to 18,000 Tax Cuts” document bizarrely highlights goods TPP nations simply do not buy in volume from anyone. Consider the 34 percent “tax” cut by low-income Vietnam on Alaskan caviar. About $150,000 worth of caviar was imported by Vietnam from anywhere. Or Vietnam’s 5 percent tariff cut on skis. Vietnam only imported about $50,000 in skis in total.
  • Many of the tax cuts the administration has touted include those that the administration claims the TPP’s weak environmental chapter would conserve. Among the 18,000 tax cuts are Malaysia’s shark fin tariffs, Vietnam’s whale meat tariffs and Japan’s ivory tariffs.

Indeed, the “tax cut” list is packed with gems. Christmas ornaments and pork for Muslim nations Malaysia and Brunei. Silkworm cocoons for Vietnam and Japan. Ski boots for Brunei. Camels for Vietnam.

Categorias: Planet Not For Sale

Remarks at the National Press Club Panel on the Proposed Inclusion of ISDS in the TPP

Eyes on Trade - 17 fevereiro, 2016 - 21:47

Delivered by Lise Johnson, Head: Investment Law and Policy, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, at the National Press Club in Washington DC on February 11, 2016

With the TPP, we are currently at a crucial crossroads. We either take this time to thoroughly evaluate ISDS and its costs and benefits, which, I believe, would take us in a new and more thoughtful direction, or we simply move forward with the TPP, entrenching and expanding a failed experiment in economic policy.

I refer to ISDS as an experiment because, although it is commonly noted that there are 3,000 investment treaties around the world and, therefore, that the ISDS mechanism is nothing new, the first investment treaty with ISDS was actually not concluded until the late 1960s. Investment treaties with ISDS were not widely negotiated until the 1990s, and ISDS claims only really emerged in earnest in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Thus, we really only have roughly 15 years of experience with this mechanism. ISDS is still a new area of law. An experiment.

I note that ISDS is a failed experiment because it does not appear to have achieved three of the commonly stated objectives of the mechanism. It has not led to increased investment flows, nor to a set of predictable international legal rights for investors, nor to an increase in the rule of law in host countries.

If the TPP were concluded with ISDS, we would not only be entrenching this failed experiment, but significantly expanding it. Currently, the US only has an investment treaty with one major capital exporting state, Canada, meaning that only a relatively small share of foreign direct investment in the US – roughly 10% -- is currently protected by a treaty with ISDS. With the TPP, the percentage of covered investment will more than double; and if we continue the trend in the TTIP as well, the amount of covered FDI in the US will rise significantly to approximately 70%, and along with it, the US’s exposure to costly litigation and liability.

Now, the US has said that the experiment has not cost the Government anything, frequently highlighting the point that it has yet to lose an ISDS case. But there are a few reasons why I don’t think we should count on the past to predict the future:

  • As I noted, the US’s exposure has been fairly limited; this will change with the TPP;
  • Second, in the cases the US has defended, the US has had near misses in which even the government officials working on the case thought the Government would lose; one explanation given for why arbitrators have been reluctant to rule against the US is that, if the US were to lose, it would back away from the system to the ultimate detriment of the arbitrators and counsel who make their living from ISDS cases. Thus, at least while the future of ISDS felt uncertain, it has been in the best interest of arbitrators to take it easy on the US.
  • Third, recent decisions reflect the significant delegation of authority under ISDS to arbitrators to interpret and apply the treaty, without any meaningful review or opportunity to appeal the arbitrators’ decisions. The tribunal in a recent case against the US, for example, stated that although all three NAFTA states unanimously agreed that the treaty meant “X”, it didn’t consider itself bound to that interpretation and proceeded to disregard it. This shows that there is no guarantee that tribunals will interpret treaty provisions in a way that is consistent with the US’s understanding of what treaty obligations mean.2
  • Fourth, the US has lost on key issues that have resulted in an expansion of exposure to future claims and damages.3

Moreover, irrespective of data on wins and losses, the system of ISDS itself is fundamentally flawed in that it creates a privileged and powerful system of protections for foreign investors that is inconsistent with, and erodes, the power of domestic law and institutions.

The USTR has defended ISDS against such charges by saying that the standards of protection investors receive under it mirror, but do not go beyond, the protections provided under domestic law and that therefore ISDS does not represent any change or threat to domestic law as we know it.4 But there are two key problems with the USTR’s assertion. One is that it is not correct that investment treaties do not provide foreign investors any greater rights than are provided under domestic law. We’ve done significant research comparing the protections provided under domestic law with those provided under investment treaties, and conclude that the protections provided under investment treaties in fact give foreign investors greater rights than they or anyone else have under domestic law.5 In fact, this seems to be why TransCanada, which is suing the US government as a result of the denial of the Keystone permit, is pursuing its major claim for $15 billion through the NAFTA as opposed to through domestic litigation.

But, even accepting the USTR’s argument that the substantive standards in investment treaties simply mirror substantive standards provided under US domestic law still does not address some of the significant concerns about ISDS. In this context, it is important to recall that ISDS allows investors to challenge actions of officials at any level of government – local, state, and federal, and conduct by any branch – executive, legislative and judicial. The fact that a measure is entirely consistent with domestic law is no defense or shield against liability.

What ISDS does is give private arbitrators the power to decide cases that, at their core, are merely questions of domestic constitutional and administrative law dressed up as treaty claims. Instead of recourse through local, state or federal domestic institutions, investors are able to take their claims to a panel of party-appointed international arbitrators and ask them to determine the bounds of proper administrative, legislative, and judicial conduct.

One might ask: what does it matter if we permit foreign investors to bring their claims against the government before international arbitrators as opposed to before domestic courts if the substantive standards of protection are the same? The answer is that it matters a great deal.

  • One, there is no route for a meaningful appeal. Even if a tribunal gets the law or facts wrong, its decision will likely stand;
  • Two, the decision makers in ISDS are free of the requirements of independence, impartiality, and high ethical standards that are mandatory for US judges;
  • Three, in domestic litigation, if a court issues a decision that is inconsistent with legislative intent, the legislature can pass a law correcting that decision; the legislature, however, has no power to undo or otherwise override an ISDS decision;
  • Four, the procedural rules and remedies are significantly different depending on whether an investor brings its claims through ISDS or through domestic courts, with meaningful impacts on the government’s potential exposure to claims and liability; and
  • Five, even if the law looks the similar, it is not the same. So, for example, although the TPP incorporates what superficially looks like the US’s test on regulatory expropriations, tribunals are not in any way bound to apply that test in the same manner as US courts.

Fundamentally, supranational adjudication—where the decisions of a supranational body can penetrate deep into a domestic society—is rare and raises a host of complex legal and policy questions. Much more consideration of these issues is important before we inadvertently dilute constitutional protections, weaken the judicial branch, and outsource our domestic legal system to a system of private arbitration that is isolated from essential checks and balances. This is not to say that supranational adjudication has no place in the American legal system, but rather that ISDS is an extreme, discriminatory and unnecessary version that will have undue negative effects on our domestic law and institutions.

  1. Data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  2. See Lise Johnson, “New Weaknesses: Despite a major win, arbitration decisions in 2014 increase the US’s future exposure to litigation and liability,” (CCSI 2015), at p. 8, available at http://ccsi.columbia.edu/files/2013/12/9.-Johnson-New-Weaknesses-US-roundup.pdf
  3. See cases discussed Id.
  4. USTR, Fact Sheet: “Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS),” (March 2015), https://ustr.gov/about-us/policy-offices/press-office/fact-sheets/2015/march/investorstate-dispute-settlement-isds (“These investment rules mirror rights and protections in the United States and are designed to provide no greater substantive rights to foreign investors than are afforded under the Constitution and U.S. law”).
  5. See, e.g., Johnson and Volkov, “Investor-State Contracts, Host-State ‘Commitments,’ and the Myth of Stability in International Law,” 24 American Review of International Arbitration 361 (2013); Lise Johnson, Lisa Sachs, and Jeffrey Sachs, “Investor-State Dispute Settlement, Public Interest, and U.S. Domestic Law,” (May 2015), available at http://ccsi.columbia.edu/files/2015/05/Investor-State-Dispute-Settlement-PublicInterest-and-U.S.-Domestic-Law-FINAL-May-19-8.pdf
Categorias: Planet Not For Sale

Resúmenes de fallos de la Corte Internacional de Justicia (CIJ), ¡en español!

Blog de Javier Echaide - 16 fevereiro, 2016 - 21:02
La Corte Internacional de Justicia ha actualizado su base de datos de resúmenes de sus sentencias y las ha actualizado al mes de diciembre 2015. Considerando que estamos en febrero de 2016, la actualización realmente es importante.
Antes de este trabajo, la disponibilidad de estos resúmenes se hallaban disponibles hasta el año 2013 inclusive.

Estos trabajos son de suma utilidad para el estudio del derecho internacional así como para su enseñanza. Los resúmenes son oficiales y realizados por la propia CIJ y puestos a disposición en seis idiomas, incluido el español. Los idiomas oficiales de la CIJ son solamente inglés y francés, por lo que la publicación de sus sentencias (en completo) sólo se hacen en dichos idiomas. El poder contar con estos resúmenes, que sean además oficiales, y que estén en español, son de muchísima utilidad.

¡A aprovechar!
Categorias: Planet Not For Sale

On World Cancer Day, Cancer Patients Arrested at PhRMA Headquarters to Warn of ‘Death Sentence’ Imposed by Trans-Pacific Partnership Expansion of Medicine Monopolies

Eyes on Trade - 4 fevereiro, 2016 - 23:03

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On World Cancer Day, two cancer patients – supported by health professionals and public health advocates – were arrested as they engaged in civil disobedience to dramatize their life-and-death concerns about the expansion of medicine monopolies pushed by brand-name pharmaceutical companies in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Zahara Heckscher, a 51-year old mother and author from Washington, D.C., who has been in treatment for aggressive breast cancer for seven years, and Hannah Lyon, a 29-year old from California who is in treatment for aggressive cervical cancer, linked arms and refused to leave the lobby of the office building that houses PhRMA, the trade association that has pushed for extreme monopolies in the TPP, while dozens of supporters chanted outside. 

They loudly shouted that the TPP would be a “death sentence” for many cancer patients by keeping life-saving cancer medicines out of reach due to exorbitant monopoly pricing. They shouted until they were arrested by the D.C. police and charged with unlawful entry.

For royalty-free video and photos of Hecksher’s and Lyon’s arrest: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/68eadvlygp3z85i/AABY6Pq1drD9v4WLXoq4-N4ca?dl=0

 “The TPP will effectively take some patients backwards in time to the dark ages of cancer treatment. It will prevent too many people with cancer – and other life threatening illnesses – from accessing the new treatments they need to stay alive,” said Heckscher, explaining why she felt compelled to risk arrest protesting the TPP at PhRMA today. “One of my current medicines would cost me $118,000 per year if I were not in a clinical trial. PhRMA pushed for provisions in the TPP that, if passed, would lock in policies in the U.S. that keep medicine prices obscenely high.”

Lyon echoed Heckscher’s concerns. “I have never spoken in public or engaged in civil disobedience before, but I know at a deeply personal level the life and death stakes for many cancer patients if the TPP is approved,” she said. “Cancer patients do not have the luxury to wait five or eight years for access to affordable medicines while PhRMA establishes extended monopolies to continue to reap outrageous profits. I want Congress to pay attention to the concerns of patients who need affordable medicine instead of catering to PhRMA lobbyists, and reject the TPP.”

Before risking arrest, Heckscher and Lyon were joined in a news conference and demonstration at PhRMA headquarters by other cancer patients, survivors, health professionals and public health advocates, wearing scrubs and surgical masks and holding signs that read “On World Cancer Day, Cancer Patients Say No TPP Death Sentence” and “Shame on PhRMA! No TPP Death Sentence.” Advocates held oversized pill bottles with giant price tags and chanted.

For royalty-free photos of the protest: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4ad5p5m0qa2yv5t/AAADolARAKk6UE1uFhUmdOzha?dl=0

Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, put the struggle against the TPP ‘death sentence’ in a broader context: “Pharmaceutical industry greed has reached heights never seen before. The price of medicines has nothing to do with the cost of making them – and virtually nothing to do with the cost of research and development. Big Pharma companies are price gouging simply because they can. Drug prices are so high because there’s no competition, and because Big Pharma spent more than $1.2 billion on lobbying over the past five years and it employs an army of more than 1,400 registered lobbyists to keep it that way. As part of a comprehensive strategy to reform our broken system, we must fight Big Pharma’s scheme to win still more expanded monopoly protections through the TPP – an effort not just to impose high prices on other countries, but to block our reform agenda and maintain super-high prices in the United States indefinitely.”

Alison Case, a physician with the American Medical Student Association, gave a prospective from health professionals: “The TPP sets a dangerous precedent for our future patients by threatening access to medicines and public health. The provisions on intellectual property, including provisions regarding life-saving biologics used to treat cancer, were designed with heavy industry input in a completely non-transparent way,” she said. “This will only further an environment of high drug costs and frustratingly difficult struggles for patients who need them.”

Hilary McQuie, director of U.S. government policy at HealthGap, noted that the TPP provisions could delay efforts to end the AIDS epidemic. “We now have over 15 million people worldwide getting HIV treatment, and if we keep increasing resources to test and treat at this rate, we will end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. The only way this has been possible was through hard-won struggles to allow for massive generic imports by low and middle income countries. If in place a decade ago, the TPP’s provisions would have prevented member countries the ability to develop the very HIV treatment programs that millions are dependent on today.”

For more information on the TPP and access to medicines, see:

Categorias: Planet Not For Sale

TPP signing represents corporate wish list; farmers, consumers and the environment lose

Subtitle:  Opposition grows as trade deal faces uphill battle in Congress Language:  English IATP author(s):  Karen Hansen-Kuhn Ben Lilliston File:  2016_02_03_TPP_Signing_PR.pdf Minneapolis/Washington D.C. – The controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) was signed today in New Zealand, as opposition to the corporate-friendly deal continues to grow in the U.S. and other participating countries. The agreement now has to go to national legislatures for ratification. The TPP has been broadly criticized for expanding the legal rights of foreign corporations to challenge national and local regulations. IATP has also criticized the TPP for its potentially adverse impacts on...

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Categorias: Planet Not For Sale

On TPP Signing Day, Activists Urge Congress to ‘Let It Go’; Frozen Themed Performance Kicks Off 48 Hours of Anti-TPP Protests Around the World

Eyes on Trade - 3 fevereiro, 2016 - 20:52


Fair Trade Princess Ilsa Performs Her Rendition of ‘TPP: Let It Go’ Accompanied by a Cast of Dozens of Frosty Friends

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As representatives of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries gather in New Zealand to officially sign the controversial agreement, activists today at the National Press Club delivered a clear message to Congress: “Let It Go.”

In a Broadway-style performance of a parody version of the Frozen anthem, Fair Trade Princess Ilsa kicked off 48 hours of national and international anti-TPP demonstrations with her rendition of “TPP: Let It Go.” Today’s event will kick off a very chilly year for the TPP in Congress, where the pact’s fate is at best uncertain. All U.S. presidential candidates with more than 5 percent support in any state oppose the deal, and vibrant TPP opposition movements are growing across the country and around the world.

Download the royalty-free video: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/z6rzhs99xyp5cbt/AAD46IcVOPK1ClokqLSHEuoHa?dl=0

Download the royalty-free photos: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/v0g2uj3lxyhayql/AABAFx5cg47Hzq4qhD4ODrO6a?dl=0

Hear the song: https://soundcloud.com/global-trade-watch/tpp-let-it-go 

The TPP parody song spotlights the secrecy of TPP negotiations and the role of the 500 official U.S. trade advisers mainly representing corporate interests. Fair Trade Princess Ilsa sang about how the TPP would make it easier to offshore more American jobs and increase inequality with Americans who would be put into more direct competition with workers in Vietnam who make 65 cents an hour: 

“The TPP is all about greed
Corporations wrote the rules
Offshore jobs, lower wages
and democracy overruled”

Fair Trade Princess Ilsa, a proponent of access to affordable medicines for patients across the globe, took PhRMA to task:

“TPP would raise the price of meds
keeping the sick dying in their beds”

Today’s “TPP: Let It Go” performance marks the beginning of protests and anti-TPP demonstrations in 30 cities across the United States and in TPP signatory countries, including a major march protesting the TPP signing ceremony in Auckland, New Zealand. With respect to the strength of the anti-TPP movement, Fair Trade Princess Ilsa sang:

“Our power’s growing, the opposition is so strong
From climate to human rights, the TPP is wrong
We won’t stand by and let the corporations win
The TPP will end up in history’s trash bin”

Before Fair Trade Princess Ilsa concluded her brief appearance at the National Press Club, after being rained out of her original performance venue in front of the White House, she had one clear message for Congress:

“Let it go! Let it go!
Our movement is gonna soar
Let it go! Let it go!
‘Til the TPP is no more

Here we stand
and to Congress we say:
on TPP, vote no


 or you better watch out on Election Day!”

 

Categorias: Planet Not For Sale

A review of the actual text of the Peterson Institute for International Economics’ (PIIE) Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) study update that was recently released – versus the slanted press coverage – shows:

Eyes on Trade - 28 janeiro, 2016 - 19:16
  • The study’s methodology relies on absurd assumptions.
  • Even so, the claimed gains for the U.S. are small.
  • The study identifies significant downsides for the United States, including more than 500,000 U.S. jobs lost in the pact’s first 10 years.

Despite the administration’s rosy framing, even the PIIE’s pro-TPP study predicts lackluster results for U.S. economic growth as well as U.S. job losses.

Income gains from the TPP, as predicted by PIIE, are VERY small – a TOTAL of one-half of one percent by 2030 – i.e. a rounding error of under 0.036 percent per year. That is to say, the gain in U.S. growth with the TPP at the end of 15 years sums up to 0.5 percent. TPP proponents use the gross number to be able to tout “billions” in gains because in context to projected U.S. economic growth without the TPP, the so-called TPP gain is miniscule.

  • The sum total of projected U.S. economic gains approximately equals the amount that Americans will spend on St. Patrick’s Days, over-the-counter teeth whiteners and tattoos by the time the TPP’s benefits are supposed to materialize.
  • Notes CEPR’s Dean Baker: “The study’s projection of a cumulative gain to GDP of 0.5 percent by 2030 implies an increase in the annual growth rate of 0.036 percentage points. This means that if the economy was projected to grow by 2.2 percent a year in a baseline scenario, it will instead grow at a 2.236 percent rate with the TPP, assuming the Peterson Institute projections prove correct. The projections imply that, as a result of the TPP, the country will be as rich on January 1, 2030 as it would otherwise be on April 1, 2030.”

The Obama administration was called out by the Wall Street Journal for trying to distort this paltry gain, which they are touting because the only official U.S. government study undertaken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that the TPP would have no economic benefits for the U.S. economy.

  • The USDA study concluded that even if all tariffs were slashed to zero (which did not happen) the TPP would increase U.S. GDP by 0.00 percent in 2025. You read that right – 0 percent. It doesn’t get any lower than that.

The meager projected TPP gain in the U.S. economy comes even despite the study’s use of a model that assumes no job loss or rise in inequality, two of the issues of greatest concern to many TPP opponents. 

  • Yet even using a methodology that assumes full employment, buried in the fine print of the Peterson Institute’s study is a prediction that 53,700 U.S. jobs PER YEAR will be displaced in the TPP’s first ten years. That is, the total job loss projected by the study, despite its rosy assumptions, is more than 537,000 lost jobs in the pact's first decade.

Another recent economic modeling study concluded that 450,000 American jobs would be lost under the TPP.

  • The TPP includes rules that will make it easier to offshore more American jobs to low wage countries.

Using an economic model that allows for the possibility of less than full employment and rising income inequality, Tufts University economists found that the TPP would result in a net loss of income in the United States and significant job loss.

  • There is academic consensus that trade has contributed to the major rise in inequality. A recent study finds the TPP would spell a pay cut for all but the richest 10 percent of Americans by exacerbating income inequality, as past trade deals have done.
  • Macroeconomic theory predicts if Americans face more competition from workers in Vietnam who make less than 65 cents/hour, wages will be pushed down.
  • Sixty percent of manufacturing workers losing jobs to trade who find reemployment face pay cuts, with one in three losing more than 20 percent, per U.S. Department of Labor data.
Categorias: Planet Not For Sale

Administration’s TPP Honey SOTU Guest: Falsely Sweet Story Exemplifies TPP Sales Job

Eyes on Trade - 12 janeiro, 2016 - 15:53

Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. Obama SOTU guest Ronna Rice and her company Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey should be congratulated on their success. Tomorrow the President will no doubt talk about how the TPP will help her sell more honey. Yet like much of the White House TPP sale job, the nice narrative is not supported by the facts. Here’s why you shouldn’t swallow this falsely sweet example:

  • U.S. honey exports to eight of the 11 other TPP nations (Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore) already are duty free without the TPP! So, why is Ms. Rice and her firm being pitched as benefitting from the TPP?
  • Vietnam has a 10% tariff that goes away on day one of a TPP, but they won’t be importing our honey: Vietnam is the United States’ second largest source of honey imports. (We import a lot of honey from Vietnam.)
  • Malaysia is our sixth largest import source, which is curious given the country has fewer than 60 commercial bee operations. (Answer: Malaysia is implicated in the China honey transshipment scam. There’s a large U.S. anti-dumping order against Chinese honey now.) 
  • As far as how Ms. Rice and Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey will be affected, both Vietnam and Malaysia newly would get duty-free access into the U.S. market on day one of a TPP – rather than have to pay our current 1.9 cent per kilo tariff on their imports. Like usual, the administration only hypes inflated export claims, but fails to consider imports or the net effect of a trade pact.
  • Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey focusses mainly on the U.S. market ... That is typical for U.S. small businesses. Exporting is mainly the realm of big business. Only 3 percent of U.S. small and medium enterprises export any good to any country. In contrast, 38 percent of large U.S. firms are exporters. The White House line about small businesses being the largest number of U.S. exporting firms is just a reflection of the fact that 99.7 percent of U.S. businesses meet the “less than 500 employees” definition of SMEs. 
  • So what is the ostensible upside for Ms. Rice and her firm?? Tiny New Zealand’s 10% tariff goes away day one of a TPP ... Its population is the same as the Boston metro area, but its purchasing power is lower. So, NZ is not the prize. 
  • So 
 it boils down to Japan. There’s a 25.5% tariff on honey in Japan now, which goes to zero in year eight of the TPP. BUT, even though the United States sells quite a bit of honey in Japan now, China flattens us in Japan with respect to relative market share.

The real TPP story for Lucky Clover honey is not so sweet. For the years until the Japan-Korea-China FTA goes into effect, would the TPP tariff cut increase the U.S. share of Japan’s imported honey market relative to China? And more critically, would any such exports gains in Japan even make up for the increased imports of duty-free Vietnam and Malaysia honey into the United States under the TPP – more import competition in the firm’s main market? 

Categorias: Planet Not For Sale

Administration’s TPP Honey SOTU Guest: Falsely Sweet Story Exemplifies TPP Sales Job

Eyes on Trade - 12 janeiro, 2016 - 15:53

Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. Obama SOTU guest Ronna Rice and her company Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey should be congratulated on their success. Tomorrow the President will no doubt talk about how the TPP will help her sell more honey. Yet like much of the White House TPP sale job, the nice narrative is not supported by the facts. Here’s why you shouldn’t swallow this falsely sweet example:

  • U.S. honey exports to eight of the 11 other TPP nations (Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore) already are duty free without the TPP! So, why is Ms. Rice and her firm being pitched as benefitting from the TPP?
  • Vietnam has a 10% tariff that goes away on day one of a TPP, but they won’t be importing our honey: Vietnam is the United States’ second largest source of honey imports. (We import a lot of honey from Vietnam.)
  • Malaysia is our sixth largest import source, which is curious given the country has fewer than 60 commercial bee operations. (Answer: Malaysia is implicated in the China honey transshipment scam. There’s a large U.S. anti-dumping order against Chinese honey now.) 
  • As far as how Ms. Rice and Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey will be affected, both Vietnam and Malaysia newly would get duty-free access into the U.S. market on day one of a TPP – rather than have to pay our current 1.9 cent per kilo tariff on their imports. Like usual, the administration only hypes inflated export claims, but fails to consider imports or the net effect of a trade pact.
  • Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey focusses mainly on the U.S. market ... That is typical for U.S. small businesses. Exporting is mainly the realm of big business. Only 3 percent of U.S. small and medium enterprises export any good to any country. In contrast, 38 percent of large U.S. firms are exporters. The White House line about small businesses being the largest number of U.S. exporting firms is just a reflection of the fact that 99.7 percent of U.S. businesses meet the “less than 500 employees” definition of SMEs. 
  • So what is the ostensible upside for Ms. Rice and her firm?? Tiny New Zealand’s 10% tariff goes away day one of a TPP ... Its population is the same as the Boston metro area, but its purchasing power is lower. So, NZ is not the prize. 
  • So 
 it boils down to Japan. There’s a 25.5% tariff on honey in Japan now, which goes to zero in year eight of the TPP. BUT, even though the United States sells quite a bit of honey in Japan now, China flattens us in Japan with respect to relative market share.

The real TPP story for Lucky Clover honey is not so sweet. For the years until the Japan-Korea-China FTA goes into effect, would the TPP tariff cut increase the U.S. share of Japan’s imported honey market relative to China? And more critically, would any such exports gains in Japan even make up for the increased imports of duty-free Vietnam and Malaysia honey into the United States under the TPP – more import competition in the firm’s main market? 

Categorias: Planet Not For Sale

ICYMI: Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Facts and Figures for SOTU Prep

Eyes on Trade - 12 janeiro, 2016 - 15:27

President Barack Obama is expected to prioritize the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in his State of the Union address. The TPP text was finally released in November after seven years of secretive talks during which this Washington Post infographic shows 500 U.S. trade advisors representing corporate interests had special access. Congress, the public and press were shut out. Now everyone can read the controversial deal that could undermine many landmark achievements of Obama’s presidency and thus his legacy on jobs and economic recovery, climate, healthcare access, gay equality, financial reform, the U.S. auto industry rescue and more. Only six of the TPP’s 30 chapters deal with traditional trade matters. As this recent New Yorker piece describes, the rest require limits on food, financial and other regulations, provide drug firms new monopolies and expand the contentious investor-state dispute settlement system.

Zero U.S. Economic Growth from TPP:

The Department of Agriculture issued the administration’s only major study on TPP’s economic impact and found it would result in 0.00% increased U.S. growth if all tariffs on all products were eliminated, which did not occur. The United States already has free trade deals in place with Canada, Mexico, Peru, Australia, Chile, and Singapore, which collectively represent over 80 percent of the trade counted in the oft-touted line about the TPP covering 40 percent of world trade. Even the major pro-TPP study found that in 2025 U.S. growth rates only would be .4 percent higher with TPP in effect - even using a model that assumed full employment and no increased income inequality. Yet, since the 1940s, standard economic theory has held that trade liberalization is likely to increase inequality in developed countries like the United States.

Increased Income Inequality:

A recent study finds the TPP would spell a pay cut for all but the richest 10 percent of Americans by exacerbating income inequality, as past trade deals have done. That would contradict Obama’s 2015 SOTU inequality reduction goal. Macroeconomic theory predicts if Americans face more competition from workers in Vietnam who make less than 65 cents/hour, wages will be pushed down. Sixty percent of manufacturing workers losing jobs to trade who find reemployment face pay cuts, with one in three losing more than 20 percent, per U.S. DoL data. There is academic consensus trade has contributed to the major rise in inequality.

American Jobs at Risk:

The TPP includes rules that make it cheaper and less risky to offshore U.S. jobs to low wage nations. The pro-free trade Cato Institute calls these investor protections a subsidy on offshoring. The administration stopped claiming the TPP would create jobs after a four Pinocchio rating by the Washington Post fact checker. Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), more than 57,000 U.S. manufacturing facilities have closed and five million U.S. manufacturing jobs–one in four–were lost with more than 875,000 U.S. workers certified under just one narrow U.S. Department of Labor program.

Export Claims:

Obama’s most recent free trade agreement (FTA) served as the TPP’s template and also was sold as a way to create “more exports, more jobs.” Three years into the U.S.-Korea Free FTA, the U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea was up more than 90 percent as exports fell 7 percent and imports surged. The United States ran a $177.5 billion goods trade deficit, with its 20 FTA partners in 2014, the last year data is available. The growth rate of exports FTA partners has been 20 percent lower than U.S. exports to the rest of the world the last decade. In his 2010 SOTU, Obama said he would double exports in five years. But given our paltry annual export growth rate, the export-doubling goal would not be reached until 2057 – 43 years behind schedule.

The TPP=18,000 Tax Cuts Red Herring:

In the face of the Korea FTA’s flop, the administration has tried to shift focus to a “tax cut” narrative to sell the TPP with a mantra about 18,000 tax cuts for U.S. exported goods. But last year, the U.S. only exported goods in less than half of the 18,000 tariff categories. By using the raw number of tariff lines cut with respect to the five nations with which we do not already have FTAs (Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei), the administration distracts from the real question: does 18,000 tariff cuts equate to more U.S. exports or jobs? For the nearly 7,500 categories of goods out of the claimed 18,000 for which we did sell anything, almost 50 percent had sales under $500,000. Many items we simply do not sell, including those that the administration claims the TPP’s weak environmental chapter will help conserve. Among the 18,000 tax cuts are Malaysia’s shark fin tariffs, Vietnam’s whale meat tariffs, and Japan’s ivory tariffs. The administration’s “TPP Guide to 18,000 Tax Cuts” document also bizarrely highlights goods TPP nations simply do not buy in volume from anyone. Consider the 34 percent “tax” cut by Vietnam on Alaskan caviar. In 2014, Vietnam’s per capita GDP was about $2,000 and about $150,000 worth of caviar was imported by Vietnam from anywhere. Or Vietnam’s 5 percent tariff on skis from Colorado. Vietnam only imported about $50,000 in skis in total. Other highlights: Vietnam and Japan will eliminate their tariffs on silkworm cocoons, Brunei will cut its tariff on ski boots, and Vietnam will eliminate its tariff on camels. Almost 2,000 of the tariff reductions in the products we do sell won’t be realized for over a decade or more, including beef and pork to Japan.

China Claims in TPP Sales Pitch -Foreign Policy Arguments Mimic False Claims Made for Past Pacts:

Whenever the economic case for a trade deal falls flat, presidents try to change the subject to the putative foreign policy imperatives, as Obama has done. The notion that TPP is a bulwark against China is absurd, if only because China has been invited to join. Administration officials say China can only join only if it agrees to TPP rules. But those rules would give Chinese products duty-free U.S. access, and the new TPP foreign investor rights would enhance China’s relative economic might within the United States. This may explain China’s statements of increased interest in joining the TPP. While U.S. concerns about the implications of China’s rising economic power and influence are legitimate, the notion that the establishment – or not – of any specific U.S. trade agreement would control this process is contradicted by the record. We were warned that unless NAFTA and free trade deals with eight Latin American nations were enacted, China would write the rules and grab our trade in the hemisphere. NAFTA went into effect and in its first 20 years, the U.S. share of goods imported to Mexico dropped from 70 percent to under 50 percent while China’s share rose more than 2,600 percent. After U.S. FTAs with eight other Latin American nations were enacted, China’s exports to Latin America soared more than 1,280 percent from $10.5 billion to more than $145 billion, while the U.S. saw only modest export growth. The U.S. share of Latin America’s imported goods fell 36 percent while China’s share increased 575 percent since the various U.S. FTAs were enacted.

TPP Is Not About the U.S. Writing the Rules Versus China Doing So - TPP’s Rules Are Those Demanded by its 500 Official Corporate Trade Advisors:

Trying to paint TPP as a way for America to write the rules in Asia so that China does not is a misdirect. TPP is not about establishing “American” rules in Asia. It’s about imposing rules that are favored by the 500 official U.S. corporate trade advisors who had a privileged role in developing the TPP. The TPP rules promote more U.S. job offshoring and would further gut the U.S. manufacturing base, even as a recent Department of Defense report warned that U.S. deindustrialization poses a threat to national security. TPP would ban the application of Buy America procurement preferences with respect to all firms operating in TPP countries. Instead of reinvesting our tax dollars at home to build a strong national infrastructure and create economic growth and jobs at home, TPP would require us to give firms from the TPP nations, including Chinese state-owned-enterprise firms operating in Vietnam, equal access to U.S. government contracts. TPP also would raise our energy prices and undermine our energy independence given we could no longer halt liquid natural gas exports to TPP nations, including major LNG purchaser Japan. TPP’s expanded patent and copyright monopolies would raise American health care costs and thwart innovation. And, even if you believe that TPP actually is about writing rules aimed at affecting China, who in their right mind believes that China would actually abide by those rules or that the U.S. would enforce them effectively? Fifteen years after China joined the WTO, we’re still waiting for China to comply with the commitments they made. And, we are still waiting for any U.S. administration to broadly and effectively enforce U.S. rights.

The TPP Rolls Back National Security Language Included in Past Pacts:

The TPP eliminates language included in past U.S. trade pacts that explicitly authorized the United States to take action to protect its own national security interests regardless of whether any such action or policy violated trade pact rules and to do so without facing trade sanctions. And, while other TPP nations safeguarded their domestic national security review processes for foreign investors, the United States did not take an exception to TPP rules that grant foreign investors new rights to acquire land, firms, natural resource concessions, infrastructure or other investments and operate them. Thus, even if the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) opposed on national security grounds a U.S. acquisition by a firm also operating in a TPP country, if that investment was stopped the foreign firm could drag the U.S. government before an extrajudicial investor-state tribunal and demand taxpayer compensation.

The TPP Versus President Obama’s Legacy – Environment and Climate:

The environmental groups that have celebrated Obama’s achievements with the global climate treaty and his decision to the stop the XL Pipeline call the TPP an act of “climate denial.” The pact would roll back the environmental standards that President George W. Bush was pressured into including in his trade deals. Indeed, in a recent Newsweek oped, the Cato Institute celebrated the TPP’s watered down environmental terms. Environmental groups listed on the White House website as supporting the deal, including NRDC and Defenders of Wildlife, in fact came out in opposition after seeing the final text.

The TPP Versus President Obama’s Legacy – Healthcare Costs:

The TPP would directly contradict Obama efforts to reduce U.S. healthcare costs by expanding monopoly patent protections for big drug firms, as Doctors Without Borders notes. This allows drug firms to stop competition and raise medicine prices. As seniors groups note, the TPP would also empowering large drug firms to meddle in U.S. government reimbursement decisions for taxpayer-funded programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

The TPP Versus President Obama’s Legacy – American Auto Sector Rescue:

The TPP would threaten the president’s successful rescue of the U.S. auto industry and thousands of U.S. jobs. It would allow vehicles comprised mainly of Chinese and other non-TPP country parts and labor to gain duty free access. This would gut the rules of origin established in NAFTA that condition duty free access on 62.5 percent of value being from NAFTA countries. Ford has supported all past U.S. trade deals, but opposes the TPP.

The TPP Versus President Obama’s Legacy – Gay Rights:

While the Obama administration is celebrated for its defense of gay equality after dust-binned the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and joining those announcing that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, it decided to allow Brunei to remain in the TPP even after the country announced that it would begin stoning to death gays and single mothers under new sharia-based laws. This has led to LGBTQ groups joining the TPP opposition.

The TPP Versus President Obama’s Legacy – Financial Reform:

The TPP could help banks unravel the new rules Obama achieved on Wall Street by prohibiting bans on risky financial products and “too big to fail” safeguards while empowering foreign banks to “sue” the U.S. government over new financial regulations. For the first time, the TPP would expand the controversial investor-state dispute system (ISDS) to allow challenges of U.S. financial policies using the claim underlying most successful ISDS attacks.

Claims about Small Business Gains Contradicted by Record:

The administration claims that small business will be the greatest beneficiaries of the TPP. But the reason small and medium enterprises (defined as 500 employees or less) comprise most U.S. exporting firms is simply because they constitute 99.7 percent of U.S. firms overall. But only 3 percent of U.S. small and medium enterprises export any good to any country. In contrast, 38 percent of large U.S. firms are exporters. Even if FTAs actually succeeded in boosting exports (which they don’t, per the data noted above), exporting is primarily the domain of large corporations, not small businesses. As for whether as the administration claims “with these trade agreements we can create more opportunities” for small firms, the record of past FTAs suggests not. Under the Korea FTA, U.S. small businesses have seen their exports to Korea decline even more sharply than large firms (a 14 percent vs. 3 percent downfall in the first year of the FTA). Small businesses’ exports to all non-NAFTA countries grew over 50 percent more than their exports to Canada and Mexico (74 percent vs. 47 percent) during a 1996-2012 window of data availability. The sluggish export growth owes in part to the fact that small businesses’ exports grew less than half as much as large firms’ exports to NAFTA partners (47 percent vs. 97 percent from 1996-2012). Small businesses’ share of U.S. exports has declined, while U.S. export growth to countries that are not FTA partners has exceeded U.S. export growth to FTA partners by 30 percent over the past decade. 

 

 

Categorias: Planet Not For Sale

ICYMI: Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Facts and Figures for SOTU Prep

Eyes on Trade - 12 janeiro, 2016 - 15:27

President Barack Obama is expected to prioritize the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in his State of the Union address. The TPP text was finally released in November after seven years of secretive talks during which this Washington Post infographic shows 500 U.S. trade advisors representing corporate interests had special access. Congress, the public and press were shut out. Now everyone can read the controversial deal that could undermine many landmark achievements of Obama’s presidency and thus his legacy on jobs and economic recovery, climate, healthcare access, gay equality, financial reform, the U.S. auto industry rescue and more. Only six of the TPP’s 30 chapters deal with traditional trade matters. As this recent New Yorker piece describes, the rest require limits on food, financial and other regulations, provide drug firms new monopolies and expand the contentious investor-state dispute settlement system.

Zero U.S. Economic Growth from TPP:

The Department of Agriculture issued the administration’s only major study on TPP’s economic impact and found it would result in 0.00% increased U.S. growth if all tariffs on all products were eliminated, which did not occur. The United States already has free trade deals in place with Canada, Mexico, Peru, Australia, Chile, and Singapore, which collectively represent over 80 percent of the trade counted in the oft-touted line about the TPP covering 40 percent of world trade. Even the major pro-TPP study found that in 2025 U.S. growth rates only would be .4 percent higher with TPP in effect - even using a model that assumed full employment and no increased income inequality. Yet, since the 1940s, standard economic theory has held that trade liberalization is likely to increase inequality in developed countries like the United States.

Increased Income Inequality:

A recent study finds the TPP would spell a pay cut for all but the richest 10 percent of Americans by exacerbating income inequality, as past trade deals have done. That would contradict Obama’s 2015 SOTU inequality reduction goal. Macroeconomic theory predicts if Americans face more competition from workers in Vietnam who make less than 65 cents/hour, wages will be pushed down. Sixty percent of manufacturing workers losing jobs to trade who find reemployment face pay cuts, with one in three losing more than 20 percent, per U.S. DoL data. There is academic consensus trade has contributed to the major rise in inequality.

American Jobs at Risk:

The TPP includes rules that make it cheaper and less risky to offshore U.S. jobs to low wage nations. The pro-free trade Cato Institute calls these investor protections a subsidy on offshoring. The administration stopped claiming the TPP would create jobs after a four Pinocchio rating by the Washington Post fact checker. Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), more than 57,000 U.S. manufacturing facilities have closed and five million U.S. manufacturing jobs–one in four–were lost with more than 875,000 U.S. workers certified under just one narrow U.S. Department of Labor program.

Export Claims:

Obama’s most recent free trade agreement (FTA) served as the TPP’s template and also was sold as a way to create “more exports, more jobs.” Three years into the U.S.-Korea Free FTA, the U.S. goods trade deficit with Korea was up more than 90 percent as exports fell 7 percent and imports surged. The United States ran a $177.5 billion goods trade deficit, with its 20 FTA partners in 2014, the last year data is available. The growth rate of exports FTA partners has been 20 percent lower than U.S. exports to the rest of the world the last decade. In his 2010 SOTU, Obama said he would double exports in five years. But given our paltry annual export growth rate, the export-doubling goal would not be reached until 2057 – 43 years behind schedule.

The TPP=18,000 Tax Cuts Red Herring:

In the face of the Korea FTA’s flop, the administration has tried to shift focus to a “tax cut” narrative to sell the TPP with a mantra about 18,000 tax cuts for U.S. exported goods. But last year, the U.S. only exported goods in less than half of the 18,000 tariff categories. By using the raw number of tariff lines cut with respect to the five nations with which we do not already have FTAs (Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei), the administration distracts from the real question: does 18,000 tariff cuts equate to more U.S. exports or jobs? For the nearly 7,500 categories of goods out of the claimed 18,000 for which we did sell anything, almost 50 percent had sales under $500,000. Many items we simply do not sell, including those that the administration claims the TPP’s weak environmental chapter will help conserve. Among the 18,000 tax cuts are Malaysia’s shark fin tariffs, Vietnam’s whale meat tariffs, and Japan’s ivory tariffs. The administration’s “TPP Guide to 18,000 Tax Cuts” document also bizarrely highlights goods TPP nations simply do not buy in volume from anyone. Consider the 34 percent “tax” cut by Vietnam on Alaskan caviar. In 2014, Vietnam’s per capita GDP was about $2,000 and about $150,000 worth of caviar was imported by Vietnam from anywhere. Or Vietnam’s 5 percent tariff on skis from Colorado. Vietnam only imported about $50,000 in skis in total. Other highlights: Vietnam and Japan will eliminate their tariffs on silkworm cocoons, Brunei will cut its tariff on ski boots, and Vietnam will eliminate its tariff on camels. Almost 2,000 of the tariff reductions in the products we do sell won’t be realized for over a decade or more, including beef and pork to Japan.

China Claims in TPP Sales Pitch -Foreign Policy Arguments Mimic False Claims Made for Past Pacts:

Whenever the economic case for a trade deal falls flat, presidents try to change the subject to the putative foreign policy imperatives, as Obama has done. The notion that TPP is a bulwark against China is absurd, if only because China has been invited to join. Administration officials say China can only join only if it agrees to TPP rules. But those rules would give Chinese products duty-free U.S. access, and the new TPP foreign investor rights would enhance China’s relative economic might within the United States. This may explain China’s statements of increased interest in joining the TPP. While U.S. concerns about the implications of China’s rising economic power and influence are legitimate, the notion that the establishment – or not – of any specific U.S. trade agreement would control this process is contradicted by the record. We were warned that unless NAFTA and free trade deals with eight Latin American nations were enacted, China would write the rules and grab our trade in the hemisphere. NAFTA went into effect and in its first 20 years, the U.S. share of goods imported to Mexico dropped from 70 percent to under 50 percent while China’s share rose more than 2,600 percent. After U.S. FTAs with eight other Latin American nations were enacted, China’s exports to Latin America soared more than 1,280 percent from $10.5 billion to more than $145 billion, while the U.S. saw only modest export growth. The U.S. share of Latin America’s imported goods fell 36 percent while China’s share increased 575 percent since the various U.S. FTAs were enacted.

TPP Is Not About the U.S. Writing the Rules Versus China Doing So - TPP’s Rules Are Those Demanded by its 500 Official Corporate Trade Advisors:

Trying to paint TPP as a way for America to write the rules in Asia so that China does not is a misdirect. TPP is not about establishing “American” rules in Asia. It’s about imposing rules that are favored by the 500 official U.S. corporate trade advisors who had a privileged role in developing the TPP. The TPP rules promote more U.S. job offshoring and would further gut the U.S. manufacturing base, even as a recent Department of Defense report warned that U.S. deindustrialization poses a threat to national security. TPP would ban the application of Buy America procurement preferences with respect to all firms operating in TPP countries. Instead of reinvesting our tax dollars at home to build a strong national infrastructure and create economic growth and jobs at home, TPP would require us to give firms from the TPP nations, including Chinese state-owned-enterprise firms operating in Vietnam, equal access to U.S. government contracts. TPP also would raise our energy prices and undermine our energy independence given we could no longer halt liquid natural gas exports to TPP nations, including major LNG purchaser Japan. TPP’s expanded patent and copyright monopolies would raise American health care costs and thwart innovation. And, even if you believe that TPP actually is about writing rules aimed at affecting China, who in their right mind believes that China would actually abide by those rules or that the U.S. would enforce them effectively? Fifteen years after China joined the WTO, we’re still waiting for China to comply with the commitments they made. And, we are still waiting for any U.S. administration to broadly and effectively enforce U.S. rights.

The TPP Rolls Back National Security Language Included in Past Pacts:

The TPP eliminates language included in past U.S. trade pacts that explicitly authorized the United States to take action to protect its own national security interests regardless of whether any such action or policy violated trade pact rules and to do so without facing trade sanctions. And, while other TPP nations safeguarded their domestic national security review processes for foreign investors, the United States did not take an exception to TPP rules that grant foreign investors new rights to acquire land, firms, natural resource concessions, infrastructure or other investments and operate them. Thus, even if the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) opposed on national security grounds a U.S. acquisition by a firm also operating in a TPP country, if that investment was stopped the foreign firm could drag the U.S. government before an extrajudicial investor-state tribunal and demand taxpayer compensation.

The TPP Versus President Obama’s Legacy – Environment and Climate:

The environmental groups that have celebrated Obama’s achievements with the global climate treaty and his decision to the stop the XL Pipeline call the TPP an act of “climate denial.” The pact would roll back the environmental standards that President George W. Bush was pressured into including in his trade deals. Indeed, in a recent Newsweek oped, the Cato Institute celebrated the TPP’s watered down environmental terms. Environmental groups listed on the White House website as supporting the deal, including NRDC and Defenders of Wildlife, in fact came out in opposition after seeing the final text.

The TPP Versus President Obama’s Legacy – Healthcare Costs:

The TPP would directly contradict Obama efforts to reduce U.S. healthcare costs by expanding monopoly patent protections for big drug firms, as Doctors Without Borders notes. This allows drug firms to stop competition and raise medicine prices. As seniors groups note, the TPP would also empowering large drug firms to meddle in U.S. government reimbursement decisions for taxpayer-funded programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

The TPP Versus President Obama’s Legacy – American Auto Sector Rescue:

The TPP would threaten the president’s successful rescue of the U.S. auto industry and thousands of U.S. jobs. It would allow vehicles comprised mainly of Chinese and other non-TPP country parts and labor to gain duty free access. This would gut the rules of origin established in NAFTA that condition duty free access on 62.5 percent of value being from NAFTA countries. Ford has supported all past U.S. trade deals, but opposes the TPP.

The TPP Versus President Obama’s Legacy – Gay Rights:

While the Obama administration is celebrated for its defense of gay equality after dust-binned the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and joining those announcing that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, it decided to allow Brunei to remain in the TPP even after the country announced that it would begin stoning to death gays and single mothers under new sharia-based laws. This has led to LGBTQ groups joining the TPP opposition.

The TPP Versus President Obama’s Legacy – Financial Reform:

The TPP could help banks unravel the new rules Obama achieved on Wall Street by prohibiting bans on risky financial products and “too big to fail” safeguards while empowering foreign banks to “sue” the U.S. government over new financial regulations. For the first time, the TPP would expand the controversial investor-state dispute system (ISDS) to allow challenges of U.S. financial policies using the claim underlying most successful ISDS attacks.

Claims about Small Business Gains Contradicted by Record:

The administration claims that small business will be the greatest beneficiaries of the TPP. But the reason small and medium enterprises (defined as 500 employees or less) comprise most U.S. exporting firms is simply because they constitute 99.7 percent of U.S. firms overall. But only 3 percent of U.S. small and medium enterprises export any good to any country. In contrast, 38 percent of large U.S. firms are exporters. Even if FTAs actually succeeded in boosting exports (which they don’t, per the data noted above), exporting is primarily the domain of large corporations, not small businesses. As for whether as the administration claims “with these trade agreements we can create more opportunities” for small firms, the record of past FTAs suggests not. Under the Korea FTA, U.S. small businesses have seen their exports to Korea decline even more sharply than large firms (a 14 percent vs. 3 percent downfall in the first year of the FTA). Small businesses’ exports to all non-NAFTA countries grew over 50 percent more than their exports to Canada and Mexico (74 percent vs. 47 percent) during a 1996-2012 window of data availability. The sluggish export growth owes in part to the fact that small businesses’ exports grew less than half as much as large firms’ exports to NAFTA partners (47 percent vs. 97 percent from 1996-2012). Small businesses’ share of U.S. exports has declined, while U.S. export growth to countries that are not FTA partners has exceeded U.S. export growth to FTA partners by 30 percent over the past decade. 

 

 

Categorias: Planet Not For Sale