Critical Problems of the Trans-Pacific Partnership
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. The goals of this is to strengthen economic ties between these nations, decrease tariffs, and foster trade to boost growth. However, there are several critical problems that hurt the US and other nations.
1. Currency manipulation and job loss
Currency manipulation is the act of artificially depressing the value of one nation’s wealth, and there aren’t any regulations preventing this. Nations do this, for example, by acquiring excess foreign exchange reserves to decrease the value of their currency. Some of the countries that committed this act is Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan. Currency manipulation explains the persistent U.S. trade deficit with the 11 other TPP countries which in turn hurts the US economy. Millions of US manufacturing jobs have been lost to these countries over the past few decades because the US cannot compete with the low costs of foreign manufacturing. The $177.9 billion U.S. goods trade deficit with the 11 other TPP countries reduced U.S. GDP by $284.6 billion and eliminated over 2 million jobs in 2015.
2. Environmental protections
There are no regulations stated in the TPP about the protection of the environment. This partnership completely disregards the U.S. free-trade agreements by failing to require TPP countries to fulfill their obligations with international environmental treaties. Because of these weak regulations, it encourages US companies to move overseas to take advantage of the lack of regulations. Firms take serious advantage of this by not putting in emission controlling devices into their equipment to save money. If they were to do the same thing in the US, their equipment would need many emission regulating devices. This hurts both the US economy and the world’s effort to address pollution.
3. Compromises the safety of our foods
The TPP gave companies the authority to challenge food inspectors and compel them to make assessments quickly. The United States currently inspects just 2 percent of food imports, and there is evidence that fish and seafood are already compromised: Consumer Reports found that 60 percent of seafood (91 percent of which is imported) tested was contaminated. The same principle applies with imported pharmaceuticals, which is needed for the health of US citizens. The weak TPP regulations may impact US citizen’s overall health and quality of life.
There are no regulations about the workers’ environment and salaries. Within the TPP, there are four known countries with well documented labor problems: Mexico, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia. The partnership has not committed to requiring all countries within the TPP to be in full compliance with international labor standards before they get allowed in. This is taken advantage by the counties listed above to decrease production costs to make themselves more competitive in the international market. This makes it unfair for the US to compete due to labor laws and unions. Millions of jobs are lost to these countries for overall lower costs.
Overall, there are too many harmful drawbacks to the TPP. The US needs a trade partnership that helps benefit the US economy, meets international law, and keeps Americans safe.
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"TPP: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?" BBC News. BBC, 23 Jan. 2017. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.
Rachel Rothschild Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow in Environmental Science, Technology and International Relations, New York University. "Here's a Problem with the TPP That Hillary Clinton Ignores at Her Peril." The Conversation. N.p., 17 Aug. 2016. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.