Former USTR Comes Out Against TPP -- Though Not Necessarily For The Best Reasons

from the the-tpp-fight-continues dept

People who have worked for the USTR tend to pretty religiously support any and all new trade agreements, so it seems somewhat noteworthy that the former USTR, and now Senator, Rob Portman, has come out against the TPP agreement, saying that he doesn't think that it's a good deal. There are, of course, a number of caveats here that potentially make this at least slightly less of a big deal than it might otherwise be. Specifically:
  1. There's a pretty good chance he's doing this purely for political reasons. He's in a tight re-election campaign for the Senate, and his opponent has been quite opposed to basically any trade deal including the TPP -- and many Ohio residents (i.e. voters) believe (rightly or wrongly) that trade deals mean fewer manufacturing jobs. Portman was also a big proponent of pushing through "Trade Promotion Authority" or fast track, which was seen as a sort of proxy vote on TPP, because it would bind Congress's hands to just an up/down vote on the TPP, without any ability to push back on particular aspects of the agreement. And, Portman also made it clear he could change his mind if the TPP was "improved."
  2. Some of the reasons he's given seem to track with those of Senator Orrin Hatch, in complaining that the TPP doesn't go far enough in expanding intellectual property rights, mainly for big pharmaceutical companies (specifically data exclusivity rules around "biologics.")
So, it could certainly be argued that his speaking out against the TPP are for suspect reasons (and of suspect authenticity). Still, it is rather incredible that a former USTR would proactively say that they don't support such a major trade agreement, and highlights (at the very least) just how toxic the TPP has become with the voting public. And of course, that should raise some pretty serious questions. If the voting public doesn't support the TPP at all, why are we continuing to pursue it?
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Filed Under: rob portman, tpp, ustr


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 9 Feb 2016 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: If the voting public doesn't support the TPP at all, why are we continuing to pursue it?

    Why shouldn't those private parties be responsible for messes they make, like pollution? The issue in Ecuador shows us that the original perpetrators, Texaco, failed to clean up their mess, then bribed a corrupt administration to give it an OK, it's clean enough. Later, Texaco is bought by Chevron and a new Ecuadorian administration says the old one was corrupt and their OK should not stand up since it isn't clean enough.

    The pollution causes everybody harm, and for generations to come, and is a direct result of actions by the private party who took profit rather than uphold responsibility to the community in which they operated. Now, I am not against profit, but profit at the cost of poisoning the people around the place the profit is produced goes more than a bit far.

    If a country decides to privatize some company simply because they want the profits, then I think that company should be compensated. But it really appears that the way these rules are written, compensation is going to be demanded for every nickel of perceived loss, whatever the reason, and the payee will be the taxpayers of the purported denier of profit.

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