As the presidential campaign heats up, so does the debate over the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. These member countries account for nearly 40% of global Gross Domestic Product. The countries combined have more than 800 million consumers.
National Pork Producers Council and other agricultural and business groups have supported the TPP throughout the negotiations that began in late-2008 and concluded in October 2015.
“TPP is the biggest commercial opportunity ever for the U.S. pork industry,” John Weber, NPPC president, said in testimony earlier this year to the House Committee on Ways & Means Trade Subcommittee, “and NPPC strongly supports its passage and implementation.”
“We cannot afford either economically or geopolitically to walk away from the fastest growing region in the world,” Weber said. “If we do turn our backs on that region, some other country … will write the rules for global trade, and the United States not only won’t realize the benefits of TPP, it will lose market share in those 11 countries as other nations negotiate free trade agreements with them.”
According to an Aug. 11 article on MorningConsult.com, Americans appear to be warming up to the idea of the proposed trade pact. Morning Consult conducted a poll Aug. 8-10 of registered voters, and found that 10% of those polled strongly support TPP and 25% somewhat support the pact. Though these numbers don’t portray a strong endorsement of the deal, they are stronger numbers when compared to a similar poll Morning Consult did in March, when those same numbers were 6% and 20%, respectively.
President Obama supports TPP, and the benefits that it will reportedly bring to the United States on the global trade table. But on the table is right where the TPP may stay if the president cannot get Congressional support and action during his time left in office.
According to the Washington Times, while both major party presidential candidates — Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton — oppose TPP, “walking away from the agreement would allow China and Japan to set their own rules for trade and investment in the globe’s most dynamic economic region.”
The Times article goes on to quote the president saying that China, not included in the TPP, will step in and Beijing is “not worried about labor standards or environmental standards or human trafficking or anti-corruption measures” incorporated into the agreement. “You’ll get a low-standard, lowest-common-denominator trade deal.”
Another Washington Times article, says that Clinton vows to kill the TPP, saying “I will stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” she said. “I oppose it now, I’ll oppose it after the election and I’ll oppose it as president.”
An Aug. 12 post on the Global Research website says “Being savaged by Donald J. Trump on one side of the electoral aisle, and modestly beaten by the Democratic presumptive candidate, Hillary Clinton, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is lying somewhere between near death and miraculous survival. Those breathing life into that unfortunate beast remain politicians who embraced the mythology of free trade while never questioning what was free.
“The scurrying taking place in the White House over rushing the TPP through the relevant channels is evident as the Obama presidency enters its final stages. Stutters, delays and reluctance has meant that much work, perhaps too much, has to be done to push the agreement onto the statute books.”
For now, TPP is a wait-and-see game. See is President Obama can get Congress to pass TPP before he leaves the Oval Office. Wait to see what, if anything, the new president will do with TPP. Also, wait and see what U.S. trade partners do regardless what Obama or the new president do.