I. Executive Summary
On behalf of the millions of working people we represent, we believe that the TPP is unbalanced in its provisions, skewing benefits to economic elites while leaving workers to bear the brunt of the TPP's downside. The TPP is likely to harm the U.S. economy, cost jobs, and lower wages.
The primary measure of the success of our trade policies should be increasing jobs, rising wages, and broadly shared prosperity, not higher corporate profits and increased offshoring of America's jobs and productive capacity. Trade rules that enhance the already formidable economic and political power of global corporations—including investor-to-state dispute settlement, excessive monopoly rights for pharmaceutical products, and deregulatory financial services and sanitary and phyto-sanitary rules—will continue to undermine worker bargaining power, here and abroad, as well as weaken democratic processes and regulatory capacity across all 12 TPP countries.
The LAC entered the TPP process hopeful and optimistic that the TPP would finally be the agreement that broke the elite stranglehold on trade policy and put working families at the front and center. Unfortunately, we believe the TPP fails to strike the proper balance: of course it is difficult to convince Vietnam to implement freedom of association before the TPP enters into force once Vietnam has already agreed to provisions that will force it to pay higher prices for medicines and subject even its most basic laws to challenge by foreign investors in private tribunals. Given the misguided values enshrined in the TPP, it is no surprise that the economic rules it will impose will actually make it harder to create a virtuous cycle of rising wages and demand in all 12 TPP countries.
While the TPP may create some limited opportunities for increased exports, there is an even larger risk that it will increase our trade deficit, which has been a substantial drag on job growth for more than twenty years. Especially at risk are jobs and wages in the auto, aerospace, aluminum and steel, apparel and textile, call center, and electronic and electrical machinery industries. The failure to address currency misalignment, weak rules of origin and inadequate state
-owned enterprise provisions, extraordinary rights provided to foreign investors and pharmaceutical companies, the undermining of Buy American, and the inclusion of a labor framework that has proved itself ineffective are key among the TPP's mistakes that contribute to our conclusion that the certain risks outweigh the TPP's speculative and limited benefits.
As part of our work to create this report, the LAC reviewed our NAFTA report from more than 20 years ago and the history of trade agreements implemented since that time. What is stunning is that despite the mounting evidence that neoliberal trade and globalization rules do not create shared prosperity and inclusive growth, and despite the fact that some of NAFTA's biggest supporters, including former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, now agree with us that corporate
-driven trade doesn't work for workers, we are essentially having the same debate as we had regarding NAFTA.
The LAC urges the President in the strongest possible terms to reverse course now. Do not send this TPP to Congress. Instead, the TPP should go back to the negotiating table. We want to work with you and our counterparts in the other TPP countries to create a truly progressive TPP that uplifts working people, creates wage-led growth, diminishes income inequality, promotes infrastructure investment, protects intellectual property without undermining access to affordable medicines, and respects our democracy.
See full report: https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/Labor-Advisory-Committee-for-Trade-Negotiations-and-Trade-Policy.pdf
-- June Zaccone National Jobs for All Coalition http://www.njfac.org