Pacific Trade and Worker Rights – The New York Times

“Obama administration officials say the T.P.P. goes further on labor standards than those earlier pacts. For example, the T.P.P.’s labor chapter requires all 12 countries to adopt minimum wage, working hour and occupational safety regulations. That is an improvement, but it could turn out to be mostly symbolic because the agreement does not specify how countries should set minimum wages. Nor does it establish any minimum standard for safety regulations.Experts say the most important labor provisions are found in side agreements the Obama administration reached with Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei individually to address specific problems like barriers to union organizing and the treatment of immigrant workers from countries like Myanmar. These countries will have to change their labor laws in specific ways before they are allowed to export goods duty-free to the United States.The agreement with Vietnam, a country run by a communist government, would require that workers be permitted to form independent unions that are not affiliated with the Communist Party and would have the right to bargain collectively and to strike. This should help workers who have been exploited to demand better pay and better working conditions.”

Source: Pacific Trade and Worker Rights – The New York Times

Trade and Trust – NYTimes.com Paul Krugman attacks TPP

Krugman writes: “In any case, the Pacific trade deal isn’t really about trade. Some already low tariffs would come down, but the main thrust of the proposed deal involves strengthening intellectual property rights — things like drug patents and movie copyrights — and changing the way companies and countries settle disputes. And it’s by no means clear that either of those changes is good for America.”

The Comments are brutal, mostly, at least the popular ones.

This writer spent an a few hours the other day reading the US Government positions on TTP, at Federal websites. The best was the trade office of the State Dept, but I can’t seem to find it today. The goals are admirable.
Here is a short list from the whitehouse.gov’

IF AMERICA LEADS:

Reduced or eliminated tariffs for American goods
Streamlined and simple customs rules for American businesses
Countries are required to put in place the most progressive labor standards, including a minimum wage, a ban on child labor, the right to form unions
Countries are required to put in place the most progressive environmental standards ever, including a ban on wildlife trafficking, illegal logging, and overfishing
A free and open Internet that will allow people to openly search and buy American goods
New rules to make sure foreign state-owned companies compete fairly with our private businesses”
I found an example, Vietnam current has no tariffs on auto parts from China, but has a 27% tariff on auto parts from the US. The Trade desk insists that these anti US practices will be reduced. Perhaps we will have to wait till the document is made available, before condemning it. Anything that helps protect rhinos and elephants for instance, deserves support, unless real sovereignty is sacrificed, which remains now just an accusation.
TTP recognizes that the biggest growth will be in Asia, as well as the most pollution. Maybe the left should hold their fire, till they can see what they are trying to kill.

via Trade and Trust – NYTimes.com.

Free Trade Is Not the Enemy – William daley, NYTimes.com.

William Daley:  “The economic impact of the deal was immediately undercut by the collapse of the Mexican peso in 1994. But opponents’ predictions of “a giant sucking sound” accompanying the departure of millions of jobs from American workers never materialized, either. From Nafta’s ratification through the end of President Clinton’s final year in 2000, America added over 20 million jobs, including more than 300,000 in manufacturing. When the manufacturing decline began in earnest in 2001, the main culprits were the offshoring of jobs to China, with which we have no trade deal, and automation.”

“Geopolitically, President Obama is also right. If we don’t set the rules for commerce in the Asia-Pacific region, China will. Since 2000, China has concluded trade agreements with 23 countries, Hong Kong and Macau and is now drafting its own Asia trade deal that cuts us out. This deal apparently omits any mention of labor rights and environmental standards common in modern American-led deals. It would keep many of the region’s economies relying on the same substandard factory floor conditions that China and other Asian nations used to become manufacturing giants.”

via Free Trade Is Not the Enemy – NYTimes.com.