The Trans-Pacific Partnership is just the beginning.
POLITICO reported that four more trade agreements are now being negotiated.
Following Congress’ hard-fought approval of “fast-track” trade authority last week, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman vowed not only to complete the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership but an even bigger pact with the European Union and three other major trade deals — all in the 18 months remaining in President Barack Obama’s term.
It could add up to the biggest trade blitz in history, transforming the rules under which the world does business.
“We’ve got a lot of pots on the stove,” Froman told POLITICO while watching senators cast their final votes to send the legislation to the president. “We want to get TPP done and through Congress. We want to get TTIP negotiated. We’re going to finish ITA. I’m hoping to finish EGA and TISA.”
Those would be, in order: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement with the European Union, an even bigger pact than the TPP in terms of economic size; the World Trade Organization’s Information Technology Agreement, which covers about 97 percent of world IT trade; the Environmental Goods Agreement, accounting for 86 percent international commerce in green goods; and the 24-party Trade in International Services Agreement, which involves three-quarters of the United States’ gross domestic product and two-thirds of the world’s services, such as banking and communications.
I’d heard of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), but not the Information Technology Agreement or the Environmental Goods Agreement until now.
Everything I’ve read about the TPP, TTIP and TISA indicate that they are attempts to write corporate wish lists into international law, and my guess is that the other two agreements are no different.
The idea is that national laws and regulations to protect financial stability, labor rights, public health or the environment are potential threats to the free flow of goods, services and money, and therefore need to be limited by international agreements.
The TPP and TTIP are known to contain investor-state dispute settlement provisions, which set up arbitration panels that can penalize countries that supposedly treat foreign corporations unfairly.
I am not necessarily opposed to international trade agreements. I think agreements to set minimum standards for product safety or worker protection could be good.
But I wouldn’t see any need for keeping such agreements secret until the last minute or rushing them through Congress in a three-month fast track.
We the people should be suspicious of any proposal that’s kept secret until the last moment, and then rushed through.
US trade vote puts TTIP on faster track by Doug Palmer for POLITICO.
TISA Exposed: ‘Holy Grail’ of Leaks Reveals Detailed Plot for Corporate Takeover by Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams.
Leaked: What’s in Obama’s trade deal by Michael Grunwald for POLITICO. About the TPP and drug patents.
TiSA WikiLeaked: Winners & losers of multinational trade deal by Gary Hershorn for Reuters. [Added 7/2/2015]
Afterthought. News articles say that the TPP would cover 40 percent of the world’s economy and the TTIP would cover 50 percent. What should be pointed out is that the TPP would include the United States, which is 22 percent of the world economy, and 11 other nations, which collectively are 18 percent.
Afterthought II. The Trans Pacific Partnership is being sold as a component of U.S. global economic strategy against China. Yet the Environmental Goods Agreement and the expansion of the WTO Information Technology Agreement would interlock the U.S. and Chinese economies more closely.
The Environmental Goods and Information Technology agreements seem to be more straightforward trade agreements, aimed at lowering tariff barriers on certain products, rather than interfering with national legislation and “non-tariff barriers.”
Tags: Environmental Goods Agreement, European Union, Fast Track, Information Technology Agreement, President Barack Obama, TISA, TPP, Trade in Services Agreement, Trade Promotion Authority, Trade Representative Michael Froman, Trans Pacific Partnership, Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP