A recent publication contained an editorial titled, “Trans-Pacific Partnership good for Asia, bad Deal for America.” Rachel Marsden correctly noted the 13 Pacific Rim nations involved; with China and 8 others expressing interest. Her somewhat rhetorical remark about erasing borders was right-on; that is exactly what happened with the European Union (EU).
The 1950 era free trade agreements morphed into an arrangement where citizens of the 27-member nations are free to travel to, and reside in, any member nation of their choice. The EU is ruled by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, who tell the 27-member nations which laws they must pass and the regulations they must impose upon labor, climate change, sustainable development, homeland security, military actions, taxes and much more.
(1) Ms. Marsden’s main objection to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement seemed to be that President Obama would not have authority to regulate labor policy in the foreign nations. She felt their policies would be detrimental to American manufacturers. She is correct. Below is “the rest of the story.”
On 1 Mar 2013, the Obama administration released a trade policy agenda calling on Congress to authorize “Trade Promotion Authority” (TPA), also known as “fast-track trade authority.”
TPA allows the administration to negotiate trade agreements and have an up-or-down vote in both Houses of Congress without amendment.
Congress has never rejected a trade agreement submitted under fast-track rules. This time, President Obama asked for TPA to assist in getting congressional approval of a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade pact. American citizens and our Congressmen are not allowed to know about the proceedings of the TPP negotiations, but a select list of American CEO’s have been granted internet access. Why? If TPA is granted, Congress will be asked to vote “up or down, with no amendments.”
Doesn’t it make sense for Congressmen to know in advance the terms contained in the agreement? Those “agreements” often include rules and restrictions imposed on American firms immediately, but which foreign firms do not have to comply with for up to 10 years.
The select list of American CEOs are thus given a “heads up” on locating their manufacturing facilities overseas to avoid restrictions that will be imposed on their American competitors who do not have access to the proceedings. The American people will wonder why American jobs are being sent overseas, and the leaders of both political parties will line their pockets for passing the legislation. Cronyism, or worse, comes to mind.
Any Congressman who votes to grant President Obama TPA, or Senator who approves the TPP, if and when submitted, has received my last vote.
(1) Jasper, William F., “Secretly Trading Away Our Independence,” The New American, 20 May 2013, p.13. Also available on line at www.jbs.org/Issues/Trade Agreements/ p. 9 of 15.