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. icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 10 Feb 2016 @ 8:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: if democracy isn't "majority rules", then what is it?

    Courts are not answerable to a democratically elected body.

    If a court finds my guilt or innocent, the legislature can't overrule them.

    I don't have a problem with that - IF, that is, the court is setup in an open and transparent way, with avenues for appeal, etc., such that we can reasonably expect to get justice out of the system.

    As often as humanly possible, anyway.

    Corporations, like Soylent Green, are made of people. [Old Charlton Heston joke...nevermind]. My wife and I own and run a corporation. It employs 11 people.

    Corporations are just groups of people who get together to do things that are too big for one person to do. I don't see any reason that people in groups shouldn't have the same rights that people have one-by-one.

    One of the purposes of law is to make life more predictable.

    So people can know what will and won't be punished.

    So people can make plans about the future.

    Including, very importantly, investments.

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