Pls read and summarize…

November 5th, 2015 at 8:39 am

Well, we asked for…we got it.

Here’s the text of the TPP. Those of us who said we couldn’t take an informed stand on the agreement until we read it, while grousing about the secrecy of the drafting, must now slog through the damn thing. And man, it’s no picnic. So pls, tap your inner trade lawyer and bite off a slice of this. Leave any relevant thoughts/reactions in comments.

Thanks, in advance!


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11 comments in reply to "Pls read and summarize…"

  1. The Raven says:

    David Dayen (@ddayen) is having a field day on Twitter, pulling quotes. Inner trade lawyer? Hell, Amnesty International ought to be interested!

  2. Tom Cantlon says:

    I’m an intelligent person who reads a lot, and much of it on economics and policy, but trying to evaluate any piece of this agreement properly requires people with deep, detailed knowledge of the individual fields. So I’ll be very happy for some good analysis to come out of this.

    Reading several pieces of this I end up with so many questions about context. How does this compare to existing trade relations? How does this affect domestic laws, or compare to existing domestic laws? Is this roughly the best we could get on a given topic? Compared to no agreement? Compared to trying to reopen negotiations? Compared to a Chinese-led agreement? What international dynamics are in play that will have side effects?

    From having worked in a few fields I have an appreciation for just how immersed in a complex topic one has to be to really be able to evaluate whether something is a good idea and what effects it will have.

    If you get such an evaluation from someone else who is in a good position to evaluate, then you have to consider their agenda. Unfortunately that’s why I’m wary of analysis by some of my favorite advocacy groups. Their need for a consistent message, to rally the troops, the human tendency to get in a mental rut, means even some of the best intentioned organizations sometimes don’t give the best analysis.

    So if you, Jared, and some of the right helpers here can shed good light, that’s a valuable thing.

  3. Amateur says:

    I don’t need to know. I’m sure it’s a disaster.

    Dean baker already pointed out some flaws. It is a joke on the American people in my opinion.

    Here’s a note to stupid lawers: Just because you say something doesn’t make it enforceable.

    Our president really let us down. He really betrayed his voters. This is a crime against humanity.

    Will he view it this way? Of course not. But Mr. President, you ran on change. Where is the change? You’re the same! This is what people wanted to change, and you failed!

    I get the arguments. I get them. And you’re wrong, Obama. You’re wrong!

  4. Amateur says:

    Who is the most important economist today? I vote for Dean Baker.

    He’ll never win a Nobel. He’s too honest. He need our award.

    He’s better than most people will ever recognize. And he did it all without recognition. He did it based upon integrity and truth. Very few of us know this.

    I know this, and I commend him. I give him the award. I have no award to give, but I give it anyway.

    We love you, Dean.

  5. The Raven says:

    Public Citizen’s commentary: They don’t like it, of course. I’m not equipped to judge this work technically, but some of the cited problems seem corrosive by any standards.

  6. richard says:

    Those of us who lack the expertise, let alone the patience, to wade through the TPP text are hoping JB and other pundits will show us ‘the light.’ GOOD LUCK JB!!

  7. Tom Cantlon says:

    Two bits, one rhetorical effect, and one a question of genuine effect.

    The labor section is agreements with Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei to be more open to unions, but there are some general statements about not interfering with union activity. U.S. unions should have a field day with that given the U.S. record of interference with groups trying to form unions, the laws here making that easy, and the terrible record of cases alleging that ever succeeding.

    The final entry in the Exceptions section says, “Subject to each Party’s international obligations, each Party may establish appropriate measures to respect, preserve and promote traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions.” “Traditional knowledge” is a broad term. Can this be construed as, that if traditional peoples know that the bark of the yew tree is good for headaches, that big pharma can’t patent that and, for one, make the native use illegal, and two, prevent the them from setting up their own manufacture and sales of it? Probably one of those broad statements along the lines of “Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed…” keeps the door open for big pharma to patent such things, but the broad exception brings a legitimate question about how far it extends.

  8. Kevin Rica says:

    No currency manipulation chapter. Just some useless, semi-“aspirational” verbiage in an associated document.

    As Ford Motor said in a press release:

    WASHINGTON, DC, October 5, 2015 – “As a top U.S. exporter, Ford supports free trade agreements that result in real market openings and a level playing field for all to compete.

    “Within the U.S. Congress, there is bipartisan consensus that currency manipulation needs to be meaningfully addressed. This summer, U.S. lawmakers took unprecedented action to set a clear negotiating objective for addressing currency manipulation in all future trade deals. The TPP fails to meet that test.

    “To ensure the future competitiveness of American manufacturing, we recommend Congress not approve TPP in its current form, and ask the Administration to renegotiate TPP and incorporate strong and enforceable currency rules. This step is critical to achieving free trade in the 21st century.”

    What is worse, China’s current account surplus (however suspicious the numbers are) is growing again and China is buying up reserves again. According to the WSJ:

    “On Saturday, China’s central bank reported that foreign-exchange reserves in October rose by $11.39 billion to $3.526 trillion, ending a five-month streak of monthly declines.”

  9. The Raven says:

    It turns out that the TPP will ban laws and regulations that require the use of open-source software in imported products. link.

  10. The Raven says:

    Jeffery Sachs judiciously breaks the thing down into four parts and concludes by saying that its investor rights provisions are toxic, its development, labor, and environmental chapters are weak, and therefore Congress should vote it down.

  11. Tom Cantlon says:

    Andrew Prokop at Vox has an important point, that if the US chooses not to pursue if, for instance Vietnam doesn’t allow unions, there is no provision for someone else to compel it, like say US labor unions. What is not clear is if there is an external way to do that. For a labor union to file a suit saying the federal government is not doing it’s job and that will hurt workers here because it allows Vietnam to offer cheaper labor. If there is a case for that, that could be an important objection ameliorated. In fact, if that idea stretches beyond the labor portions to, say, environmental, etc., that could make a huge difference in how issue groups could push TPP in practice toward being much better. Something that a legal opinion is needed on.