Hugh Campbell: Obama's argument on TPP is flawed

August 19, 2016


In the article, “In Pushing TPP, President Obama Says He Has 'Better Argument' Than Trump or Clinton” the President offered several arguments for the trade scheme.

[Hugh Campbell | August 18, 2016 | USW]

He warned that “trying to pull up a draw bridge on trade” would hurt the U.S. economy and American workers, and said that “if we don’t establish rules -- norms -- for how trade and commerce are conducted in the Asia-Pacific region, then China will.”

Since the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) currently excludes China, as a country China has no obligation to honor the new standards for labor, environmental responsibility, and other objectives – a huge plus for China. However, Chinese subsidiaries in TPP countries such as Vietnam benefit from the extraordinary advantages bestowed on corporations doing business in TPP counties. As a result, China has no obligations as a country under TPP but receives all of the corporate benefits that they choose to take advantage of through their subsidiaries. For China, TPP is a heads we win (as crony capitalist); but tails you lose (as a TPP country).

We’ve all heard over and over that the TPP is the “most progressive trade agreement ever.” Recent actions by Gary Johnson, the 2016 Libertarian presidential candidate, who switched his position to favor the TPP are very telling, since the libertarian political ideology is not known for its progressive leanings.

Without TPP, the “draw bridge on trade” will stay as open as it is now. The fear mongering in favor of TPP is nothing to brag about. 

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