Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Protectionism is Central Planning

by Laurence M. Vance

At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum last month in China, Barack Obama championed the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, which, if enacted, would be the world’s largest trade agreement, accounting for more than 40 percent of world GDP.
“What we are seeing,” Obama told those in attendance at the APEC summit’s opening session, “is momentum building around a Trans-Pacific Partnership that can spur greater economic growth, spur greater jobs growth, set high standards for trade and investment throughout the Asia-Pacific.”
The other TPP countries (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam) are the largest export market of the United States, accounting for $942 billion or 61 percent of total U.S. goods exports in 2012.
When complete, TPP will unlock opportunities for American workers, families, businesses, farmers, and ranchers by providing increased access to some of the fastest growing markets in the world.
TPP will provide new market access for Made-in-America goods and services, strong and enforceable labor standards and environmental commitments, groundbreaking new rules on state-owned enterprises, a robust and balanced intellectual property rights framework, and a thriving digital economy. It will also include commitments that will improve the transparency and consistency of the regulatory environment to make it easier for small- and medium-sized businesses to operate across the region. By opening these new markets to American products, TPP will help ensure that we are not left behind by our competitors in a vital region of the world.
A lengthy summary of U.S. objectives can be seen here. Outlines of the TPP agreement can be seen here.
The agreement has been negotiated in secret, “with only select government officials and corporations able to see the text.”

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